A few chords just isn’t enough these days, even when you have some stunning production behind you. Though Night Shop takes a step forward on this new album, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve heard this before. Just as often as this album feels fun and pointed sonically, you’ll feel like there’s not enough going on.
Despite feeling like a straightforward rock track, there’s a real soul to “The One I Love” that helps carry it past its familiar base. This along with a stellar mix really lets the song pop more than it has any right to. It’s much harder however for “If You Remember” to feel quite as distinct, though its chord progressions have a classically magical feeling to them. Even with the warm story, this track struggles to feel like it’s different enough from the competition. “Road To Carolina” reinvigorates old pop hooks in a fun way, while upping the power of In The Break’s haunting production. With snaps hitting just as hard as any other note, this track really feels like a bit of folk-pop wonder.
While this same sonic touches really fleshes out songs like “The Ship Has Sailed” to sound every bit as nostalgic as they are modern, it’s hard to feel like it’s saying much new. By relying on such classic writing schemes, Night Shop ends up crafting a song that is accessible but not necessarily all that special. “In The Break” starts to push bass in weird directions and give its drums that extra oomph to feel atypical for the folk it scores. With all the strange vocal affectations thrown in, this track brings out a much more exciting energy.
Though “You Are The Beatles” starts out with that simple The Cars chug, it offers a fun meta reflection on music and people. Right as it seems like the song is about to burst into this new triumphant sound, it ironically remains a sedentary pastiche like its lyrics mock. This all changes on “I Was Alone” as Night Shop finally open into more modern indie territory, and really let the dynamic mix and sharp melodies shine through. Though it can seem less revolutionary, there’s something simple and powerful to the writing here.
Thankfully drums and echo play a larger part in “On The Island,” as it takes a simple two-chord run and starts to play with expectations. It’s a shame that it meditates on this core virtually the whole time however as it could really be so much more. While it starts to open up the range of instrumentation for the record, “Here With Me Now” just lacks that unique character to make its traditional core feel fresh. Even so, there’s a beauty to the harmonies and solo that compensate for much of its unoriginality.
“My Love” combines its different influences for a fun listen however, with pounding drums letting the vocals sail along. Though the layering really keeps things lively, the song doesn’t lean into its pop side enough to feel infectious. All the builds bring a tension to “Where Does Everyone Go” that most of the record is completely missing, just like the interjections and huge sonic shifts it offers up at the 11th hour. After so much straightforward music, this theatrical piece shows what could be if Night Shop tries to be a little more eccentric.
Words by Owen Maxwell