Reviews Night Birds The Other Side Of Darkness

Night Birds

The Other Side Of Darkness

The hype had been building for Night Birds’ debut. They’ve released three 7”s and the band, feature ex-members of The Ergs!, Hunchback, and Psyched to Die, and put on a great show at Fest 9 in Gainesville. When that much hype builds, often it comes tumbling back to earth when the actual product is released. Not so for The Other Side of Darkness. In many ways, the band picks up where Psyched to Die left off, sharing Psyched’s drummer (and Night Birds’ vocalist) Brian Gorsegner. However, there’s a manic, more urgent feel to Night Birds. It’s angry at a fucked up world, but also just a little bit crazy and ready to burst.

The band is heavily steeped in 1980s SoCal hardcore, with surf undertones and a relentless, trucker-speed energy that carries it through. The biggest breather in the thirteen track record comes at the start of “Oblivious,” which is just a sound clip before the final song. The record owes a lot, if not everything, to classic ‘80s hardcore like The Adolescents and The Germs, but managing so with a modern twist. The production values obviously beat their SoCal influences, and the general tone is a bit lighter than the despair-laden nihilism of many of the genre’s forbearers. Within Night Birds’ songs is a self-aware feeling that they know they’re derivative—they just don’t care. In “Oblivious,” when Brian Gorsegner sings about the apocalypse, it could easily be about the final rapture (due last May—or this October…or 2012) or the ‘80s threat of nuclear annihilation. There’s something of an ambiguity to the lyrics, reinventing the original themes of ‘80s songs for a modern environment. The refrain of “Paranoid Times” echoes ‘80s Cold War sentiment, but the target has shifted and the band cleverly plays on these mantras. Meanwhile, the music blazes past at breakneck speed, with only four of the thirteen songs topping two minutes.

The influences and authenticity of the music are pretty straightforward, with a surf undercurrent, brought to the forefront for a moment in “Day after Trinity.” Overall, it’s a cathartic race that’s over seemingly too quickly.

8.5 / 10Loren
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8.5 / 10

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