NEUTRALS: “Personal Computing” b/w “In the Future”: 7”

Since the pandemic started, I’ve listened to Neutrals more than any other band. Their debut LP Kebab Disco (which came out in 2019 and I didn’t stumble across until March) is filled with hit after hit, one of those records where my favorite song is largely based on which one I listened to most recently. The songs on their Domestic Departure-released 7” were similarly great. I’m happy to report that the two songs on this new Slumberland slab fit right into the band’s portfolio of strong C86-sounding post-punk. A-side “Personal Computing” moves along at a speedy clip, as singer Allan McNaughton sings about paging through computer magazines in his thick brogue over a hooky bassline. The usual sharp treble of McNaughton’s guitar is more reverby than usual, which is a nice touch, as are the backing verse vocals the second time through and the “it takes so long to load/ my head’s going to explode” bridge. “In the Future” paints a yearning picture on the B-side, discussing how idyllic things will be later on (which sounds pretty good, especially in month nine of the pandemic). Both songs are immediately catchy, and got stuck in my head for days at a time. This single leaves me wanting more, dreaming of the next full-length by this Oakland trio. –Michael T. Fournier (Slumberland, slumberlandrecs.bandcamp.com)