Newly signed to Fat Wreck Chords, Night Birds’ first two full lengths may have passed you by, but it’s unlikely that their third release ‘Mutiny at Muscle Beach’ will do the same. Deeply influenced by the raw and aggressive sound of ‘80s west coast hardcore with just the required tinge of surf, they recorded this in analog. It has a wonderful savageness to it.
The tracks are insanely catchy and have the explosive, snotty feel honed by the likes of The Germs, Black Flag and MDC as they raged against their dangerous lives and dismal futures. It has the simple appeal of sounding like a bunch of guys got together and banged these tracks out in their garage. At the same time it’s as sharp as a knife, snappy and intelligent.
The songs rarely breach the two minute mark and often have a dark edge to them, even occasionally straying into horror punk such as ‘Son of Dad’ about a serial killer. Many others preach dismay and dissatisfaction with modern society. ‘Left in the Middle’ feels like a classic riot anthem as vocalist Brian Gorsegner rages at partitioning between the classes, screaming, “Now there’s no one left in the middle, no more white picket status quo”.
It’s really smart of Fat Wreck to sign a band with grit and danger rather than going with the soft option like certain other associated labels. Night Birds may paint a bleak future, but they can also fill us with hope.
’Mutiny at Muscle Beach’ by Night Birds is out on on Fat Wreck Chords.
Words by Alex Phelan