Club music that lurks in the shadows
Night Club is on a mission to overthrow the pop genre. Scratch that off. They want to put some pop music in a shredder and happily stomp on its leftovers while chanting “Bloody Mary”. No matter how you put it, the American electronic duo are giving club music a really scary twist. Composed of Mark Brooks, founding member of cult punk band Warlock Pinchers, and Emily Kavanaugh, Night Club releases their third studio album Die Die Lullaby, and its exciting fusion of horror, pop, techno and punk music doesn’t disappoint, especially with Halloween just around the corner.
Brooks and Kavanaugh are known for their tendency to inject elements of punk, metal, hip-hop, and electronics into the pop genre, stirring these influences in a cauldron for deliciously dark dance music. On Die Die Lullaby, Night Club adds a bit of grime and doom to their pop beats, incorporating subverted nursery rhymes, distorted sound effects, and patterns of blood, monsters and coffins, among other nightmarish imagery.
The first notes of Night Club’s eerie lullaby are the distorted chimes of a music box from hell. All of a sudden, it looks like Brooks and Kavanaugh are speeding up the music box with jumper cables, as a hard, grainy bass synth cuts through the unsettling sounds. The fun begins. Next is “Die in the Disco,” a club-ready high octane banger with a distinct 80s techno twist. Its sound is big and bombastic with a catchy hook (“Let me go / Let me go / Let me go) go / I want to die in the nightclub), while Night Club kind of makes you want to die like a blast. “It’s my party and I’ll die if I want,” Brooks growls, humorously reversing the classic Lesley song. Gore on an energetic club beat.
The opening seconds of the track “Sad Boy” showcase the duo’s ingenuity, as they return what looks like Darth Vader’s muffled breath in the backdrop of the track. “Sad Boy” is a slow burning techno track with huge bass and glitchy synths. “Sad boy, sad boy / What are you going to do boy?” Kavanaugh laughs at Ring Around the Rosie’s tune, as the forceful tune masks suicidal undertones.
“My Valentine” keeps the instrumentation interesting, with the sitar and tabla both making appearances. Hard synths and emphatic percussion complete the mix, while Kavanaugh’s sultry voice utters an eerie love song: “Love is not a crime / Blood is like wine / Stay and be mine / My Valentine.” The lead single “Miss Negativity” has pretty straightforward riffs and a straightforward hook, but the track has an undeniable smoothness and swagger. The synths are spaced out and futuristic, with a wonderfully punchy snare and a catchy hook to boot. “Gossip” brings in more of the characteristic weirdness of Brooks and Kavanaugh, with creepy, shrill synths and booming percussion dominating the hook, while a slippery keyboard riff and shortened bass tones keep the verse together. Mentions of monsters and other creepy imagery permeate the lyrics, which express Kvanaugh’s frustration at the weird rumors.
The tracks “Misery Go Round” and “The Creepshow” are perhaps the weakest on the record. The former has a decent contrast between its muffled bass and shrill synthesizers, but that’s nothing special, as Kavanaugh and Brooks sing along and complain about being stuck in a cycle of hardship. And the latter, while a little scary, also feels a little cheesy (“Welcome to the creepshow” won’t really hit the same lines as the duo’s smarter lines), and it’s pretty flat on the plan. sound.
Luckily, Night Club pulls the ball together for two delightfully dark final tracks. “California Killed Me” is clubby and dark at the same time, with a catchy percussion beat and a grainy modulated bass. “Because I’m a victim of this twisted fantasy / And I’m addicted to the darkness inside of me,” Kavanaugh sings in the chorus, as she seems to bemoan the difficulties of being successful on the West Coast.
“Civil War” is the last thing listeners will hear before the lullaby ends and their sleep begins; It is perhaps no coincidence that the techno synth of the song recalls “Sweet Dreams” from Eurythmics. It’s upbeat but dark and menacing, as Kavanaugh seems to grapple with the sadness that holds her back from the things she wants in life, wondering “Maybe I’m happiest when I’m sad / is. this bad? “
Die Die Lullaby lives up to its oxymoronic title, as Night Club combines elements of club and pop music with punk and horror influences. Brooks and Kavanaugh’s weird take on nursery rhymes and childish wonder evokes feelings of rampant euphoria, and their distinct ’80s techno style conjures up memories of the heyday of horror, when movies like Freddy and The brilliant graced the big screen. Overall this is an adventurous new album from a duo whose sound is anything but ordinary.