I found this record in the digital equivalent of a sale bin. I’d admired the record cover before, but didn’t know anything about the band. A psych-rock band from Seattle, they sound far different to what I was expecting, what with the obvious reference to the Who in the album title, and the Who’s Next colour-scheme of the cover.
This, the band’s third studio album, features Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been on bass, and you have to wonder how much his presence influenced the album cover. It definitely looks like the sort of image you more likely to see on the cover of a BRMC release. The album covers for Night Beats’ first two efforts – 2011’s self-titled debut, and 2013’s Sonic Bloom – definitely look more like what you’d expect from a psych band. All wishy-washy colours and the vague threat of hallucinogenics.
Next to a few moody black and white photos of the band on the rear cover are some typically overcooked liner notes. ‘Through all the echo chambers, broken sound barriers and miscarried choruses, the sons and daughters of the sold generation wash onto the shore intact,’ it begins. The preposterousness ends with ‘Let me play on, like the fool does. Let the fields burn, the apparition lurk and the tower fall. The hands are dealt and the king is dead.’
Music-wise, the album contains some great songs but the whole thing feels underproduced…or just recorded quickly, and on the cheap. Any brilliance in the songs is immediately diminished by it sounding too similar to the one that’s just finished. Fourth album Myth Of A Man (2019) sounds like a more interesting proposition: produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and featuring a backing-band made up of old-time session musicians for Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.
Hit: Power Child
Hidden Gem: Egypt Berry