Monday, May 13, 2013

Night Birds are back!

It's been rumored that when the new Night Birds single showed up in my mailbox, I flipped out like Steve Martin in The Jerk and ran up my street screaming, "THE NEW NIGHT BIRDS 7" IS HERE!!" Frankly, I did not expect that information to get out. I could have sworn that no one saw me. It was very early in the morning.

Having waited two years for new material from Night Birds, I was wondering if they'd still sound the same. Two years is a long time in the life of a band. Over the past 24 months, Night Birds easily could have gone through an electronica phase or committed themselves to the meticulous imitation of Village People circa their "new wave" album Renaissance. But thankfully they did not. Maimed for the Masses is essentially the same old Night Birds we've loved for years - except somehow even better. I don't know how they do it, but these guys continue to draw inspiration from the surf-inflected punk/hardcore sounds of early '80s California without sounding like copycats or second-raters. And like only the best punk bands can do, they create a sound that's true to a classic period yet still highly relevant to present times. Released last week on Fat Wreck Chords, Maimed for the Masses is an appetizer for the band's forthcoming LP Born To Die In Suburbia. The title track will appear on the album, and the other three songs are exclusive to this release. It goes without saying that this is the best record of the year - until the LP comes out!

"Maimed for the Masses" is everything you've ever loved about Night Birds condensed into 96 seconds of tuneful aggression. It's got it all: scintillating surf guitar, speed of light drumming, an anthemic chorus, a ripping solo, frothing incantations from frontman Brian Gorsegner, and backing vocals that would have made the young Adolescents envious. Befitting a song written in tribute to pro wrestling legend Mick Foley, it's a blistering statement about what it means to sacrifice your own body for some greater good (with obvious parallels to the life of a touring punk rocker). If Night Birds haven't exactly re-invented themselves, they've definitely taken things to a higher level of awesomeness. Their attack is tighter and more powerful than ever, and their songwriting chops show considerable progression. Even if the band had filled the B-side with dead air, a xylophone rendition of "We Will Fall", or actual audio of Michael Richards at the Laugh Factory, Maimed for the Masses would still be a must-own.

But truthfully, all three B-side tracks are first-rate and would have made a formidable EP by themselves. It's a nice problem to have when you write so many good songs that you can't fit them all on one album! The breakneck hardcore of "Barred Out" revels in high anxiety and prescription pill addiction, while "Last Gasp" is a throttling ode to autoerotic asphyxiation (yeah, they went there). One thing that's always been awesome about Night Birds is their dark lyrics - which are as delightfully unwholesome as ever! And even when there are no lyrics, this band still kills it. The instrumental "Boat Trash" is a perfectly punked up shot of classic surf rock, reaffirming that there's more than just speed and rage to Night Birds' music. No doubt about it: these dudes can really freaking play!

Man! If this is just the "teaser", consider me properly worked up! July better hurry up and get here! The album's gonna be sick!


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