Rotterdam-based quartet Neighbours Burning Neighbours is unfazed by chaos. In fact, the band’s music could be considered something of a safe space for the more chaotic skirmishes; a formidable, malformed brand of noise-pop that pierces through the void, achieving a joyous harmony within even the starkest of discord.
This all ties into the name, which derives from a passage in coroner Caitlin Doughty’s book ‘From Here to Eternity,’ which explores how different cultures care for the dead. The passage in question was about a particular neighbour who initially complained about a group of people who wished to cremate the dead in the open air, only to eventually change his mind: he wanted his funeral to be treated the same way. It’s an example of something that initially strikes as abrasive and extreme, but by thinking it through, it actually becomes a wholly benevolent notion. In a nutshell, a noble maxim for starting a band. By making ample room for everyone’s grievances and erratic impulses, everyone can lean into these tracks with maximum exuberance.
New single ‘Grace’ is an exemplar to this seemingly counter-intuïtive way of working. The guitarist/vocal tandem of Alicia Breton Ferrer and Daanie van den IJssel exchange cheers with the glee of a varsity cheerleading squad, incisively building up the band’s collective swagger. “When we write music together the four of us collectively discuss what’s going on,” Breton Ferrer clarifies. “And though our opinions tend to differ on certain matters, our conviction is that it can all coexist within the same space. I noticed there’s a very conversational element to our music.” Drummer Aram Scheeve adds: “Every opinion is worth exploring, it helps us find new perspectives”.
The dynamics of Neighbours Burning Neighbours are true to their very name: each member of the band acts deliberately intrusive within the space of the other. The basslines of Bart Kalkman often slither their way into the upper registers, whilst Scheeve’s pinpoint playing courts the song’s melody as ravenously as its pulse. Breton Ferrer and Van den IJssel use their instruments and vocals in playful, inquisitive ways, embracing a sense of mischief and impulsiveness.
That vibrant and combustible live dynamic is something the band hung their hat on in the early creative stages. Live sessions of ‘Lunar Hair Care’ and ‘Hesitate’ (debuting on Gigwise and Front respectively) garnered attention very organically: the former found a place on the Music For Extinction Rebellion-Bandcamp compilation, whereas the latter found its way on BBC3’s Late Junction.
“Everyone in this band happens to be in this life phase where playfulness is relished in full,” Kalkman, on the band’s hyper-driven chemistry. “Everything is treated with the same face value.” Van den IJssel: “Even though Alicia and I can often be seen singing or screaming at each other on stage… it amounts to the very same thing.”
"Neighbours Burning Neighbours are your new favourite post-punk band" - Loud Women
"Rich, earthy crunch, crowned with clean, colourful petals of Telecaster" - Gigwise
"Think Siouxie Sioux in full flight over a thunderous, tight onslaught of tribal percussion and angular guitars" - The Analouge Trash
"This is The Ex‘s heritage at its best!" - Last Day Deaf
"Razor sharp guitar riffs, driving bass lines, pounding and aggressive rhythms" - Destroy//Exist
"Their collectively pulsing nature and dual vocals create a unique cocktail of noise, post-punk and krautrock" - RoodWoof
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