Three Cheers for Vulnerability by Neutral on Paul

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“Three Cheers For Vulnerability” by Neutral On Paul is one of those records that deliver exactly what they promise. The record has a fine mix of Indie Music, Folk Rock, And Alternative Rock elements. The 60s influence is the most tangible element to be found here, but not the only one. At many points, you will feel like these guys channel great old classic rock and 60s/70s pop-rock such as David Bowie, The Beatles, or even Fleetwood Mac. The first track, Bones To Break, is a fine example of this mixture. The folky elements form the foreground of the track, but the guitars are also prominent and beautiful. The drums are pretty light on the ears, making this fit into the indie rock spectacle, but also reminiscent of 60s rock. On a similar note, the second track Out Of The Frame (Phosphenes) has a very similar style because of the keyboards, clean guitars, and groovy bassline. The vocals make it a very accessible record because of how soft and well-layered they are. Kudos to whoever mixed this album. Colored Light is more of a soothing piano ballad, although it has some soft drums and guitars. I’m sure it will remind you of your favorite Beatles song. Unsettling begins with a nice and soft guitar strumming pattern and you get goosebumps once the vocals begin. The short duration of this track makes me feel like it was put as some sort of interlude between songs. The fifth track, So Much To Lose, begins with heavier drums and more forward-sounding guitars, making the whole arrangement heavier. The stompy drum beat and melodic guitars go insanely well with each other, and you will feel like this song came right out of the 70s. If I’m being honest, it’s hard to believe that a modern-day band can write and perform this well. These guys are something special when it comes to sounding nostalgic. 

The title track is my favorite on the whole album, as it balances heaviness and melody pretty well. The solo/instrumental part breaks character from the classic rock attitude of the song (and the whole record) and sounds like a 2000s Alternative rock solo. I am amazed by how effortlessly these guys blend such styles and subgenres. Take A Beat has those electronic percussions and a more dynamic and groovy bassline which leans towards more modern styles of rock and synthpop. With lyrics about personal struggles and self-acceptance, this is one of the most heartfelt and unique pieces here. The eighth track, A Slaughter, has heavier distorted guitars and a thumpy bassline that will get you moving once you listen to it. Despite its difference and distinction from the other tracks though, it still shows the same personality and attitude we have felt since the beginning of the record. The ninth and tenth tracks are called Swellin’ and Actual Air, respectively, and they both go back to that sweet 60s pop/pop-rock sound. With the former being a heavier track and the latter a more somber clean guitar and box drum ballad, you can feel how the band has a constant personality that presents itself regardless of the genre or the style they’re playing. The bottom line is, this is a record that connects modern indie tropes and 60s/70s guidelines to forge a whole new sound. In many areas, the folky elements were the star of the show and in others, it was run-of-the-mill rock ‘n’ roll, and writing a record that’s this diverse yet coherent is (in my humble opinion) the biggest flex Neutral On Paul have got.