Village Hate Society bids a final farewell with high-powered EP Neighborhood Watch

November 1, 2023 in DJ Picks

by DJ Duderanch

Village Hate Society bids a final farewell with high-powered EP Neighborhood Watch by DJ Duderanch

Two years after their last single, rolling cymbals and synth chords pull back the curtains on Village Hate Society’s debut (and swansong…) Neighborhood Watch, released at the end of September as a farewell bid to the band and introduction to those who just barely missed it.

Corpus Christi natives and masters of all trades, Esme Dientes, Isaak Franklin and Lorenzo Villalobos, take turns sharing vocal responsibilities throughout the 25-minute EP, while Dientes’ production colors in shades of MFDOOM and BROCKHAMPTON.

Opener “Crash Dummies” serves as a triumphant return for this three-piece powerhouse. The chaotic, often surprising sounds and lyrical contrasts in the chorus work as a thesis statement for the rest of the tracklist.

Exorbitant bragging (”All I want is a chain / And a whip and some fame / And some business numbers in my cell”) mixed with personal introspection (”All I got is the feeling something bad's about to happen / To my brothers, my mother and myself”) laid over unconventional keys and drum loops create a sound perfect for the angry-at-the-world 20 something-year-old teenager we all have in our lives.

Villalobos’ fast spitting introduces us to “Halogen,” the second track and aforementioned 2021 single, his flow rivaling that of Kendrick Lamar’s throughout To Pimp a Butterfly.

Halfway through, we find the album’s main protein, fresh out of the slow-cooker they first turned on for 2018’s hit "Eagle,” which currently sits on a casual two million streams.

“Mediocre,” a beautifully ironic title, starts with a single acoustic guitar that quickly turns electric as running drums join in and raspy vocals sing the chorus, “I’m not famous, broke and shameless / walking stages / no complaints but..”

My personal favorite bar-beat combo of the whole album shows up here, brought to you by Dientes and paying homage to one of their previous works: “I take it one day at a time / I wasn’t ever meant to make it past 16, 17, 18, nine / I’m not good enough to rhyme / Every bar with every line / That’s why I copy-pasted lyrics from another song of mine.” Driving home their style of experimental, borderline goofy beats below messy vocals, “Wasteland” follows in a similar tone to that of The Garden, if the duo was from a South Texas “suburban wasteland.”

This south suburban wasteland gon’ swallow you whole.”

Like most well-shaped hip-hop releases, the closer, or, in this case, closers, slow down to a sweet and nostalgic tempo. A piano ballad dripping in emotion, Mamma aims the spotlight on the vocals over the avant-garde production we’ve heard thus far.

The most basic sample of the whole opus, Mamma lets the instrumentals take a backseat and the group’s overlapping lines of singing and rapping drive us the rest of the way there instead, never outshining each other. Villalobos, however, closes the song and objectively becomes the most memorable moment of this number.

After a mid-song breakdown buzzing with guitar fuzz, Villalobos comes back in more powerful than ever, almost driving the listener to tears as he sings the lines, “Momma, I know I haven't been home / Don't wait on me to stumble / On your doorstep in sorrow / When I begin to crumble.”

Groove ends the record with a song to dance to, traditional cumbia rhythms moving throughout its three-minute runtime. Finishing their first and last album together with the mantra, “you can’t go back, you can’t go back,” VHS leaves us begging to at least let us stay for just a little while longer.

Stream the album here.

Although Neighborhood Watch was VHS’ final release together, follow the members on their personal journeys here:

Esme Dientes: @bigmnstertruck

Isaak Franklin: @vardogor

Lorenzo Villalobos: @villelobos

Stay in the loop with the KVRX newsletter