[Review] Night Herons – Relevant Noise

This one’s got heart, folks. Channeling an All That You Can’t Leave Behind sound within the context of the Bay Area refusal to cease resistance, Night Herons may be representative of slightly older yet more resentful generation, but they’re hardly out of touch. Relevant Noise shows the group’s architectural approach to an already deconstructionist post-punk noise, but the record more importantly shows the group’s willingness to express themselves in a wholly honest manner.

The Bay Area rock scene is one of the multi-faceted voices and paths to a inevitable Haight-Ashbury revival, with a bevy of permutations leading to the ideals of free love. Night Herons may not be harbingers of a renewed vision of peace or changing societal norms, but it’s their thoroughly modern approach to the Nor-Cal rock that makes their latest record stand out. “Sunflower” is as jam-centric as the boys can get without becoming a Chris Robinson Brotherhood knockoff, while “Razorblade” is that seminal 90’s sound evocative of the era 30 years earlier – time is just cyclical, man.

Vocalist Dana Berry’s ability to play upon the “wheel inside a wheel” sound of 2017 rock imitating 90’s slacker-rock imitating a 60’s earnest proto-punk sound brings Relevant Noise to the fulcrum of its sounds as well as its namesake. The timeless guitar tone found throughout the record is evocative of the Gibson pioneers playing around with distortion and feedback, forcing the guitar to battle itself in order to draw out a more palpable sound. And draw it out they do – Night Herons sound heavily invested in the aesthetic of yesteryear, almost reverent of it, but never overwhelmed.

Night Herons represent a reflective look at the current state of rock that is guided by the likes of River Cuomo and other emo/indie front runners. Relevant Noise is a noteworthy and resounding treatise on the nexus of the older class of alternative meeting the new class of “alt.” Night Herons bridge the gap terrifically, while bringing their own brand of nostalgia-tinged aggressiveness.

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