Album Review :
Desert Neighbor - I Haven't Always Been Like This

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Band: Desert Neighbor

Title: I Haven’t Always Been Like This

Label: None

Release Date: April 14th 2011

Reviewer: Joshua Clark


  1. I Haven’t Always Been Like This
  2. Cycles
  3. Stay With Me
  4. A Blizzard
  5. Hudson
  6. There Is Hope

Desert Neighbor is a four-piece indie rock band from Indiana.  They formed in May 2010 and released their first EP Nothing is Working in July last year. Their newest EP , I Haven’t Always Been Like This, was released in April.

This album features some pretty strong indie rock tunes, that pull you right in fairly easy. There are some great guitar riffs strengthened by some solid drum patterns. The guys have a good amount of energy in their tracks as well as ambient atmosphere that you can just drift away in. Desert Neighbor has a good balance between being upbeat and laid back in their songs. None of the songs ever get too wild but at the same time it never gets so laid back that your going to get bored, which makes for a nice listen.

Lyrically, Desert Neighbor’s songwriting is strong.  I felt the songs showed a lot about the band and that it was a great reflection of the band. I like how they tackle issues or struggles that they have come across in their lives and how that has impacted them as people. Their faith in God is shown clearly in these tracks and it’s shown that even though they struggle their trying to live their lives the best they can for God. I

Even though the vocals didn’t vary a ton throughout the course of the EP they are still pleasant to listen to. Enough emotion is thrown in with both the vocals and the instruments that the songs each get their own identity. The production is a little rough for my tastes but doesn’t hurt the enjoyablity of the songs. You can make out each of the instruments just fine and the vocals being clear as well.  As a whole the rough edge works well with the emotion filled tracks.

My two favorite songs on the EP were “Cycles” and “There Is Hope.” These two songs I thought stood out the most musically and lyrically.  But I think the EP was organized nicely and the EP flows pretty well. Even though the music sounded good and flowed nicely though this EP just didn’t wow me. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it and there are some really great elements in their music’ I just don’t think it’s the best of the best.  Part of this could be that this is not the type of music I listen to all the time. So it may just not be completely my thing; which could be why I’m not blown away. But I still find it to be solid EP and some enjoyable music.

Overall: I Haven’t Always Been Like This is an EP that is great to just kick back and relax too. It is a nice feel good album to throw in. Indie rock fans will have a lot to like here and just anyone who wants a soothing album to listen to. I think for a fairly new band Desert Neighbor put out a good 2nd EP for only being an official band for a little over a year. They have a lot of room to grow and I think a few years at this they will come up with some great stuff. Desert Neighbor’s songwriting, for me at least, is one of their strongest qualities I liked the songwriting and the honesty displayed through it. I think the lyrical content in the songs are easy to relate to, especially how as Christians we are all striving to be good men/women of God. There’s a lot you can get out of the lyrics on this EP and with a decent musical backdrop it’s worth taking a listen.


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