Neutrals are a punk band from the San Francisco Bay Area, channeling a wide range of '70s and '80s punk, post-punk, and indie-pop influences. Their debut album "Kebab Disco" came out in 2019 on Emotional Response Records and garnered universal acclaim as "an excellent collection of terse melodies, unique storytelling, and scraping pop. (AllMusic)". The band followed-up with an excellent five song EP earlier this year on Domestic Departure.
"Personal Computing" b/w "In The Future" is their new single and has the distinction of being the final entry in our SLR30 Singles Series. Both sides were recorded just before the COVID-19 lockdown began and share a bittersweet nostalgia for an imagined rose-tinted future that never was. The mood of thwarted utopian dreams feels all too appropriate right now and the tense, angular songs on this single are an ideal soundtrack for this unsettled moment.
Our take: We last heard from Neutrals when they released their excellent Rent / Your House EP earlier this year, and if you liked that one, add Personal Computing to your pile. These two tracks are in the same vein, but strike me as less punky than the previous EP. Both tracks give me strong Television Personalities vibes. Like the TVPs, Neutrals have sharp pop sensibilities, heavy accents, and a retro kitsch aesthetic. However, whereas the TVPs romanticized the 60s psychedelic era, Neutrals hearken back to the 80s UKDIY scene. The key is that, like the TVPs, it feels like Neutrals is carrying forward a tradition rather than copying. Why do I think that? Maybe just because I like their songs. There are two great ones on this record, and if you like this style of minimalist, smart, but ramshackle pop music, I think you’ll agree.