NIGHT BIRDS: The Other Side of Darkness: LP

Hardcore that really resonates with me has been made by outcasts. And I don’t mean one-dimensional, “They don’t understand my crew,” looking-for-sponsorship outcasts. I’m talking about people who truly don’t look or fit the part making fast, hard, palpitating music. I’m talking about misfits within misfits, even at the band level, yet they’re all on the same page at the same time, if even just for the length of a record, the duration of a set. They’re all in the same chemistry lab, comic book store, record store, and thrift store for that twenty or so minutes. They draw from obscurity and edges and fringes. Look at old Dead Kennedys, Zero Boys, and Void photos. Look at Out Cold. Regular haircuts. Regular T-shirts. Regular-looking. Not funny-looking. Then listen. It’s what’s trapped inside that’s worth listening to for the long haul. They saved all the weirdness and anger and head ventilation for the music. Night Birds run deep—obvious over—and undercurrents are the surf guitar, the breakneck speed, and the smart lyrics. Inside is melody and Woody Allen references, origami-like guitar leads (fancy cuts, intricate patterns), and a drum that jounces and hollers instead of getting locked like a monkey inside the 4/4 cage. They’re looking at hardcore punk laterally—approaching it from the side—and that sounds so much better than a band you can hear flooring it in a straight line through a suburban cul-de-sac with nowhere else to go. Excellent.

 –todd (Grave Mistake)