Night Birds, “Monster Surf” 7-inch

cover - night birds monster surfCan Night Birds succeed without Brian Gorsegner‘s snotty vocals, which are so integral to the band’s sound? Is it possible to achieve that sense of horror and and b-movie grime without lyrics?

Shit yeah, it is. Granted, Gorsegner has a hand in playing synths on the dystopic sci-fi cut, “Agent Zero,” but the rest of the band handily rocks it pure surf style for the other three cuts on this EP.

It’s a nice chance to really focus on the fact that PJ Russo‘s guitar work is just lovely. The interplay between Russo’s guitar and Joe Keller‘s bass is what really makes this EP. Granted, it doesn’t get exceptionally complex at any point, but the songs are catchy. The same goes for drummer Ryan McHale, who — while he isn’t really called to do much more than standard timing — hits the skins with enough heft to give these songs a tiki-torch nighttime dance party feel.

It’s really the lack of anything really outstanding in terms of sonic dynamics that keep this EP at “not bad,” as opposed to “fuckin’ good.” While these songs are better than something like the early instrumental track, “Squad Car,” only the opening cut, “Unavoidable Filth,” really manages to achieve the dynamicism of something by the likes of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Knowing that Night Birds are capable of something like the Born to Die in Suburbia cut, “Silver Alert,” just had me hoping for something more than simply good.

Also, seriously — that guitar run in “Agent Zero” is one note removed from “A Shot in the Dark.” Any closer, and they’d owe the Mancini estate some coin. Nice work on the version of the Mel Brooks’ Twelve Chairs cut, “Hope for the Best (Expect the Worst),” though.

It’s a limited, one-time-only pressing of 1000 copies on big-hole 45s, and Wallride Records is already sold out. Keep an eye on the Night Birds merch site and other online distros to see if anything pops up.