A quick glance at the track list of NGHTCRWLRS' “Raging Hot” suggests that they don’t take themselves too seriously. The album starts off with “Are Two Dee Two,” followed by “Coffee and Weed,” and then, a few tracks later, “Weed and Coffee.”
After first listen, it becomes even more apparent that, though they take their music and musicianship seriously, lyrically they do not shy away from sophomoric pranks, and that’s part of the appeal: Like Pavement, you can’t listen to a NGHTCRWLRS album without feeling like you’ve been let into a joke that most of the world wouldn’t understand.
None of this cleverness would amount to anything, though, if their songs weren’t actually good. And they are. “Coffee and Weed” is a driving punk song reminiscent of Black Flag— the lyrics consist only of two lines: Coffee and weed/I feel weak. The next track, “Disco Diva,” goes in a completely different direction— and, not surprisingly, given its title, features a bouncy, dance-able bass line.
The entire album continues on this way— each subsequent track is a departure from the last, but there are undercurrents that are consistent throughout— the songs are all laced with guitar riffs that would make Built to Spill proud (perhaps most so in “Losers”).
The catchiest vocal melody is also the most ridiculous— in “Quarter Inch Cable”: She’s the one with the quarter-inch cable/in my ass/in my ass. The song wouldn’t work as well as it does if the words weren’t delivered with so much sincerity. When the backing vocals hit at the end of the first verse, it’s almost impossible to not laugh. And good luck getting that image out of your head.
Overall, “Raging Hot” sounds like a bunch of dudes getting together and having fun making music— and that fun is contagious.
NGHTCRWLRS are a New Jersey based band. Their second full-length, “Raging Hot,” was released on November 11, 2016 and is available on a variety of platforms, including Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and most likely wherever it is that you get your music.