Tuesday, September 6, 2011

'The Other Side of Darkness' by Night Birds

By Jason Duarte
Grave Mistake Records
Rating: 4/5

New Jersey's Night Birds will release its first studio full-length titled The Other Side of Darkness on September 13. I've been following Night Birds since the band's early days in 2009 (by obtaining a couple copies of the demo CD-R at Insubordination Fest 2009), and I've been waiting around for a proper full-length release of this band for two years. The 7''s held me over, but finally, The Other Side of Darkness is here.
In keeping with Night Birds tradition, the album opens with a horror theme, "Demon Haunted World." The song, along with most on the album, doesn't even make the two-minute mark, but it's OK. Its flow into "Neon Gray" makes a seamless transition. "Born of Man and Woman" is a song about Jamie Lee Curtis. OK, it's really not. But it's a really catchy song about a hermaphrodite as a sideshow freak, and not fitting in with society.
"Landfill Land" is written by Joe Keller, the Night Birds' bassist. Immediately, the band's Dead Kennedys influence shines through with a song about living in a landfill.
The album slows down briefly at the start of the title track, but only for 30 seconds before the band's back in full swing, churning out fast, upbeat, surfy punk. In keeping with tradition on a couple of its 7''s, the band has an instrumental track titled "Day After Trinity."
"Hoffman Lens" is based off the movie, They Live. The Hoffman Lens were a pair of glasses used in the movie. For example, the main character sees a Coca Cola ad, but through the Hoffman Lens, it says "Believe the Goverment." They glasses are attributed to Albert Hoffman, the creator of LSD and they lenses are supposed to let you see the true meaning behind messages. It's an interesting but hopeless wake-up call to 'the masses,' which are implied to have always been blind to government and businesses' control, and inevitably always will.
I was excited to see two of the band's first four songs re-recorded toward the end of the album. "Can't Get Clean" and "Paranoid Times" play back to back, and it's nice to hear the re-vamped, but still familiar tunes. The album closes with "Oblivious," a song about wanting to be oblivious to the end of the world. It's also the longest track on the album with a playing time of 2:51. I recommend this for anyone who's a fan of the band members' previous bands: The Ergs!, Hunchback, Psyched To Die as well as fans of the Dead Kennedys, The Misfits and early punk and hardcore.

The Other Side of Darkness track listing:
1. Demon Haunted World
2. Neon Gray
3. Born of Man and Woman
4. Landfill Land
5. One Eye
6. The Other Side of Darkness
7. Day After Trinity
8. Hoffman Lens
9. Sex Tape
10. Failed Species
11. Can't Get Clean
12. Paranoid Times
13. Oblivious

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