MTV circa 1993
Night School popped onto my radar at the end of last year when I discovered their 2016 album ‘Blush’ by pure accident. ‘Disappear Here’ is the rock trio’s 2019 follow up and it sees the album divided up into two distinct flavours of rock.
The first selection of rock comes in the form of opener ‘Spaces’. Here the trio works with slower, hard-edged drone guitars. It plants them firmly in the shoegaze genre but with fluffy female vocals that caress the darker drones. This gazing style is mixed up over the course of the album with some particularly great results with ‘Mixed Signals’ and ‘Outside Your Body’. ‘Sweetened’ is the best of this selection with its eerie surfer underbelly.
The second form harks back to that 2016 album ‘Blush’ where things are little lighter, uptempo and 1993 MTV – for which I have no issues with whatsoever! ‘Marigold’ is a radio hit in waiting with its jangly guitars and lilting vocals. ‘Memories’ and the closer ‘Free’ evoke your Throwing Muses vibes. There is a hint of a blues nuance in some of these tracks in terms of chords and hooks but these tracks are made for movement with your hair in the wind. ‘July’ is my favourite though as its where everything feels most chunky and anthemic.
There is one outlier outside this Night School song formula. ‘Years’ is a far too short dream ballad with brushed drums and echoed piano. It feels so separate from the rest of the album it comes as a surprise each time I listen. This brings me to the unusual downside of the album – its pace. Aside from ‘Years’, almost all the songs feel like they are going at the same tempo and channelling a similar vibe. It is just dependant on how gritty the guitars are as to whether the track is in category A or B. This isn’t an issue when you hear songs individually but as an album, the songs feel less special.
My recommendation for ‘Disappear Here’ is to break the album into halves and listen to each tone as you need it. Night School can create some really great rock and this album really shows that. It is just that the album feels like two separate EP’s smashed together. Plenty of summer rock anthems to enjoy though!
Recommended track: July
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