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August 21st, 2013 12:01 am MITCH LILLIE | Album Reviews

Album Review: Street Nights

You Have My Word (Friendship)


 Everything you need to know about Street Nights’ style is thrust in your ears within the first five seconds of “Hong Kong,” the opener of the vinyl-only You Have My Word. Guitar notes are shred and bent, then frontman Jake Morris—former Jogger, currently of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks—lets out a wild yelp. It sounds, quite plainly, like the ’70s.

But Street Nights is not a simple classic-rock revival band, for two reasons. First, there are the lyrics. “If you wanna be my lover/ You gotta pay a cover/ So you’d better get your sweet ass back in line,” Morris drawls in his best Jaggerish slur on “Hong Kong.” He might be aping the Stones, but it’s too self-consciously humorous to register as a deliberate rip-off or even an homage. It’s almost a parody, really.

And second, while the slow syncopation of “Heartacher” seems lifted almost directly from some basement studio’s vintage bongwater-stained shag carpet, other songs explore more eclectic terrain. “Everybody’s Sometime and Some Peoples All the Time Blues,” written by Soft Machine’s Kevin Ayers, finds the band locked in a tight, bluesy groove. The title track, meanwhile, owes more to the Meat Puppets’ cow-punk sound than anything else. Sometimes, Street Nights’ super-fuzzed guitar solos are plopped into straightforward and somewhat outdated indie-rock arrangements, but it’s these flapping-in-the-breeze leads—played, one imagines, with heads cocked skyward—that hold Street Nights’ disparate and impressive styles together.

SEE IT: Street Nights plays Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth St., with Regular Music, Spookies, DJ Never Forget and DJ Avant to Party, on Friday, Aug. 23. 8 pm. $3-$5. 21+. 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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