Where might we be in 2017 if rock music weren’t still drawing upon the hallmarks of carnal imagery, raw emotions and band name that insinuates the sinister side of nature? Nocturnal Animals certainly takes a textbook approach to the genre in cultivating their presence, but their unique Dark Lit Places EP certainly differentiates them from the pack. A tight-knit band that finds no difficulty in sounding fresh despite residing amongst an otherwise stale punk revival scene, Nocturnal Animals are casting a wide net as they find their footing.
Throughout the four tracks, there’s a distinct Brit-rock sheen to Dark Lit Places that might cause one to place the band anywhere other than hailing from Georgia. Vocalist Mason Jones provides a warbling metamorphic narrative throughout the release, with a more sobering tone of the lead track “Teeth,” to a pop-punk mimicry on “4 a.m.” The rest of Nocturnal Animals are along for the ride, providing whatever pulsating backing track Jones may call for.
In an apparent effort to re-brand from the group’s previous moniker, Rude!, Nocturnal Animals use the EP to combine modernistic elements from nearly every adjacent genre. “Satellite” has a particularly Liam Gallagher-esque feeling to it (see: “Paper Crown”) finding the band dipping into multiple generations as well as multiple genre lines.
No matter what label one feels to need to smack on it, Dark Lit Places is still rife for a spot at a stage at our (soon-to-be) dearly departed Warped Tour. The sneering and snarling on the record is pure teenage angst meets your hip father’s compact disc collection. An excellent pivot to a new image, Nocturnal Animals make a graceful re-branding, but an even more powerful debut.