Review Summary: Surf’s up! Night Birds come out swinging in their debut album
I’m a huge punk fan, and I’ve always enjoyed the surf punk sound. Living in Darkness is one of my favorite punk albums of the 80s and I love the more surfy songs by the Dead Kennedys. However, it has been hard to find surf punk bands, especially ones that stand out. The Livingbrooks are a great surfy punk band, but they are more on the poppy side, sounding more like the Ramones than the Dead Kennedys. I thought I would never find a band to satisfy my surf punk cravings, until discovering Night Birds.
Night Birds are a band from New Jersey, and one of the many recent punk bands featuring members from the Ergs! They play an aggressive brand of surf-influenced punk rock. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, they’re like a tasty punk sandwich with a heaping pile Adolescents and Agent Orange meat on it, and it’s slathered in some Dead Kennedys sauce. Stupid analogies aside, this band does the whole surf punk thing the right way. Their sound is very distinct, and I can’t name any modern bands that sound a whole lot like them, and the Agent Orange comparisons don’t really do them justice. They take on this 80s California punk sound while still having one of the freshest, most original sounds in all of punk right now.
Their music has a distinct attitude to it, and I can’t think of a better word to describe it than “evil”. The blazing surfy punk riffs, snarling snotty vocals, and pounding drums attack the listener from all angles. The lyrics are dark and paranoid and they sound like something straight out of a sci-fi or horror B-movie, similar to the lyrical style of the Misfits or Agent Orange. The vocalist paints an apocalyptic scene, singing about topics like nuclear warfare. Once you learn to understand the rapid-fire lyrical delivery of the vocalist, you’ll find their lyrics to be quite witty and sarcastic. This album is extremely aggressive and in-your-face, even for a punk album. However, these are some of the catchiest, most fun 13 tracks in all of modern punk. The band manages to be fun and infectious while still sounding pissed off and vicious. They sprint through the tracks without the thought of slowing down. While none of the songs deviate much from the general style, they all are distinct, and the album doesn’t sound repetitive at all. None of the songs break the three-minute mark, but the last track, “Oblivious”, manages to come the closest. Most of the songs clock in under two minutes, which is probably for the better considering the breakneck speed and intensity of this album.
If you like punk, especially surf punk or punk from the 80s, definitely give this a listen. The album is a bit short, and there isn’t much variety, but if you like punk that shouldn’t be a problem. These guys are one of the best emerging punk bands and they have one of the freshest sounds of any band. A lot of current punk bands sound similar with the whole orgcore thing but these guys really do their own thing and they do it well. What are you waiting for? Quit reading this and go listen to some Night Birds!