Originally in The Oklahoma Daily on October 16th, 2007.

It may be October, but Norman band The Neighborhood still has the Fourth of July on its mind with the release of its debut full-length album, “Our Voices Choked With Fireworks.”

The members of The Neighborhood have been together a short three years, but the maturity presented on their debut indicates a band that has played together a much longer period of time. The record covers the full spectrum of accessible indie rock and seems to work from a wide variety of influences. The disc’s strong point is the band’s driving rhythm section, made up of bassist Eric Mai and drummer Matt Duckworth. It’s hard to keep from bouncing your feet through most of the record.

The album begins with the short intro “Wake Up, It’s Time to Go.” Singer Phillip Rice’s strong-yet-vulnerable voice is immediately put on display. This intro leads directly into the rhythmic “Stand Up, Chin Up, and Say,” and then into “Your Longest Day,” which shows the band’s heavier side. Then things are brought down a notch with the a somber acoustic track, “That’s Okay.”

At the disc’s center is the fast-paced and danceable “Hot Water.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a better song released this year.

The second half of the disc delves into a more electronic side, with techno interludes and synthesizers. These parts are by no means bad, but they just seem a bit out of place. The band is at its strongest with more traditional guitar-based songs.

If Radiohead decided to make a more straightforward pop record, it would probably sound like “Our Voices Choked With Fireworks.”