Reviews The Night Marchers Allez Allez

The Night Marchers

Allez Allez

Sophomore records tend to bring a unique level of apprehension: has the artist changed; can s/he maintain the momentum from the first release; etc. Night Marchers—led by John Reis (Rocket From the CryptHot Snakes) and rounded out with another two Hot Snakes members, Gar Wood and Jason Sinclair and the not-to-be-overlooked Jason Sinclair (Delta 72Mule)—do not face such questions. With the body of work and distinct yet defined sound of their past projects, I don’t think anybody is entering Allez Allez devoid of firm expectations. Expectations that the band easily meets in their follow-up to 2008’s debut See You in Magic

All the recent reunion talk might have fans thinking of Rocket from the Crypt, but Allez Allez really should make listeners look to the present. The Night Marchers have a simple formula: taking classic r’n’r, delivering immediately powerful hooks, and crafting them into earworm 3-minute songs. It’s rock’n’roll at its base form, devoid of genre-tagging, distortion, time signature switcheroos, and all the other things that define contemporary music. Perhaps as a mission statement, Reis declares early on that “The only things that speak to me are loud, dumb, and mean.” The songs are really built around the guitar and play to the historical elements of the rock genre, laden with innuendo, swagger, and sing-along choruses. While touching on numerous topics, the songs have a backbone based on life on the road, alcohol, intercourse, and all the classic themes. A look at the song titles will verify that quickly. All of this, however, is not to say the band isn’t original.

The Night Marchers hold a distinct ability to craft a unique, new song that sounds like a classic. It’s not nostalgic in any way—this is purely contemporary music—but it’s so firmly rooted that it holds up across the test of time, not sounding derivative of 1960s garage rock or sounding like a time capsule for 2013. Or, at least, that’s my prediction—maybe January is a little too early to tell. The only hook that really sounds uninspired might be the bluesy line in “Fisting the Fan Base,” but that song gets a free pass because of its ridiculous name. The killer melody in “Roll On” only takes a couple of measures to captivate, and “All Hits” isn’t far behind. Reis’ voice is perfect for the tunes and, while he doesn’t have a wide vocal range, he hits the notes he needs to and accessorizes with a number of “woo’s” throughout. The pace slows down successfully in “Pain” and “2 Guitars Sing,” yet the record keeps its momentum. Between tempo shifts and the spooky and anxious sounding “Ned Lud,” Night Marchers are able to vary the sound of the record without straying from their primary style. Ultimately, Allez Allez represents the immortal soul of rock’n’roll and should appeal not only to Reis disciples, but to anyone who appreciates the power of the hook.

8.8 / 10Loren
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