October 31, 2016

#MusicMonday // Album Review: Night Riots' Love Gloom

I try to keep my album reviews (here, if you're interested) on the objective side because I know how music writing/journalism goes, but I can't— well, I can, but I won't try to— keep out the bias today because I've been waiting for this album for well over a year. I've seen Night Riots, easily one of my favorite artists, live twice and have met the band, and they are five really talented, humble, and genuinely nice guys. That said, you should probably buy their album and get tickets to a show. Now onto the review :)

Night Riots, a five-piece from San Luis Obispo, CA, formed in 2010, and their gloom-pop-fused-with-indie-rock sound is as "Contagious" as ever in their official debut. Love Gloom is the band's first full-length LP under the Night Riots umbrella (they did self-release Into the Roaring under the name PK in 2010), following three EPs, one as PK, and the most recent of which— Howl (2015)— features the anthemic "Contagious" that put them on the map in a lot of indie circles last year.  

"Nothing Personal" was the first single off of Love Gloom, and like NR lyrics tend to be, it's laden with meaning: "I am the light/I am the truth/I am the way." Take what you will from that. The second single, "Fangs," has a completely different sound and vibe. Where "Nothing Personal" is angsty and in-your-face, "Fangs" is more about succumbing to the toxic love of another person. "Don't Kill The Messenger" and "Breaking Free," the latter of which kind of gives me some Vance Joy vibes (??) and is currently getting some airplay on Sirius XM's Alt Nation, were the last two singles to drop, respectively, before the album's release on October 21.

Love Gloom has an introduction and two interludes that both begin and break up its 13 tracks. Following "Interlude II," the album goes in a different direction, taking an acoustic angle over the 80s sound of some of LG's flashier tracks like "Contagious" and "Don't Kill The Messenger," or even songs off of NR's EPs, such as "Back To Your Love" and "Follow You."

"Work It" is high energy from the outset, with the refrain picking up at just 30 seconds in. There's a layering of vocals, with vocalist Travis Hawley hitting both the highest and lowest notes without a hitch. Album stand-out "Tear Me Apart" features an acoustic bridge before Hawley launches into the refrain without musical backing, ending the track on that note. "As You Are," the final song on Love Gloom, is, well, beautiful. More acoustic guitar pairs with Hawley's slow, sad voice urging that ambiguous you to "speak with your heart." Double tracking across the album lends a kind of ethereal, echo-y quality to portions of certain songs, like "Everything Will Be Alright" that seems to pair perfectly with a name like Love Gloom.

Night Riots have been compared to artists like The Killers and Bad Suns, and while the parallels are obvious, NR is definitely a stand-alone talent gaining ground on the alternative scene. "Breaking Free," indeed.

Listen to Love Gloom:

Post a Comment

Insta @_alexakoch

© Alexa Koch | Writing Coach. Design by Fearne.