by Olivier La Roche
It’s grimy, it’s catchy, and it’s distorted. Vancouver power trio Night Court’s newest record is everything you’d want from a punk release. Throughout its short runtime, Nervous Birds! Too presents sensational melodies that cut right through the lo-fi, greasy guitar riffs, creating an electrifying listening experience.
Each song is a short breath of fresh air, just enough to make you pound your fist and bang your head. As a whole, the album is perfectly paced, from the birds chirping early on the opener “Afraid of the Dark” to the laissez-faire attitude of the closer “Where’s Waldo.”
Every song will leave you captivated in a different pocket of the band’s carefree punk sound and attitude, and their versatility is a huge reason for this. A new sonic palette of raw, dirty, and melodic punk is presented on every tune, making the album a sampler of sorts, showcasing the various directions the band can take. Since the same disillusioned vocal delivery and blissfully messy guitar work permeates the whole record, it manages to remain cohesive in its exploration of so many different melodic avenues.
Having a dozen short songs spanning just over 17 minutes can be a risky recipe, but Night Court’s songwriting actually turns this into a strength. Instead of sounding underdeveloped, each song sounds like a short glimpse into the singer’s mind, nothing more than a few thoughts. The distorted and sometimes tinny sound coupled with the sharp feedback of certain tracks works in perfect harmony with this facet, making each song sound purposefully rushed and blurry, in a very tasteful manner.
Songs like “Shitty Confidential” and “Sorry Syndrome” are other great examples of what makes this album flow so well. One song is about having nothing to say, while the other is about being “sorry for being sorry.” They are both written in the same cynical voice and recorded in the same lo-fi manner, so they fit together quite well with the rest of the record, even though they could not be any more different topically.
On Nervous Birds! Too, the band strikes a fine balance between identifying a cohesive punk sound and varying it enough to make the album a roller coaster ride of disenchantment and melancholy.