Night Birds

Mutiny at Muscle Beach

Written by: MIN on 13/12/2015 17:26:51

Hailing from New Jersey, USA, Night Birds consist of previous members of fellow punk bands Phibes, The Ergs! and Psyched to Die. But instead of drawing comparisons to those, let’s focus on these guys: Imagine four dudes hanging out in a garage while the wife and kids are away from home; boxes of pizza lying around, a few empty bottles, and fun and reckless punk rock with hints of both hardcore and surf rock being blasted through the room. Night Birds is a heck of a good time, and you’re probably not surprised to hear that they’ve been signed to Fat Wreck Chords prior to the release of this album.

When listening to the band’s third album, “Mutiny at Muscle Beach”, you almost wish you could befriend the members. Like a lot of other names in the punk scene, they’ve got several puns and hints to movies and TV-shows on several tracks – most notably in “Golden Age of TV”, which references several classics all the way from “The Big Lebowski” to “The Twilight Zone”. The song is driven by a fast but steady riff below a galloping rhythm section, and the chorus focuses on, well, never leaving the TV. By the end of the song, the volume of the guitar riff gets lower, its sound more melodic, and the bass and drums get progressively louder, creating a definite peak on the LP.

The record has a knack of transitioning excellently between songs which make for a great cohesion throughout (the one found between the title-track and “Son of Dad” is especially prominent), and it rarely lacks energy. Constantly, the fast-paced songs are being thrown in your face like squash balls to a wall and it’s easy to tell that these guys have been in the game for quite a while. Unlike many other punks that disband, reform or regroup, Night Birds have the energy and delivery that most others don’t. On the album-opener, “(I’m) Wired”, the band spits in your face and mocks you by showing how easy it is for them to create a modern take on old school punk rock. It’s got a menacing guitar riff with the occasional lick and solo added without a moment of hesitation, and while the rhythm section does a damn good job at keeping up with it, you constantly fear that the instruments might stumble over each other. But they never do. They’re just that good.

The songs have fire and fuel to keep burning through the album’s duration of 25 minutes without ever getting boring, but that doesn’t mean things can’t slow down for a while. The band’s previous album, “Born to Die in Suburbia”, had a lot of surf rock elements on it, and this one picks up on those (albeit to a lesser extent). “Miskatonic Stomp” is an instrumental track completely dedicated to that sound, and you can’t help but think of the classic Dick Dale-interpretation of “Misirlou” when listening to it. It might not be up to speed with the rest of the record, but after you’ve heard 20 minutes of accelerated punk, it’s a nice break before the last song of the record.

The album is a delight for fans of punk, in general, and overall it’s really entertaining. But don’t think for a second that Brian Gorsegner and co. don’t have anything real at heart; songs like “Life’s Not Amusement to Me” and “Blank Eyes” make sure you don’t write them off as just another no-brainer punk-rock band as lyrics about everyday boredom, political controversy and postpartum depression keep things aflame. Throughout, the album is both raw, fun, aggressive, clever, and just the right amount of stupid. With “Mutiny at Muscle Beach”, Night Birds have created their strongest record to date, and personally, I cannot wait to see what they do next.

Download: (I’m) Wired, Golden Age of TV, Mutiny at Muscle Beach, Son of Dad
For The Fans Of: Bad Religion, Psyched to Die, Dead Kennedys

Release date 02.10.2015
Fat Wreck Chords

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