Plague Vendor: By Night

review plague vendor x1 cong

One for lovers of a clattery racket, By Night is perhaps louder than their last one and, although more textured, definitely not for the tender of ear. But they have a good sense of melody and fondness for dance that keeps the album civilised. More or less.

Opener New Comedown clears out the cobwebs, the drums laying down a tribal battering, the vocals ranging from the quiet to verging on the screamo, a guitar solo that’s both a siren call to action and a demand to turn up and play loud. It’s not pretty but it is fun.

Nothing’s Wrong is steadier but with more pounding on the drums. The lyric: “She’s always calling on the phone / Saying something’s right and something’s wrong / And now I’m bleeding from the nose / My fingers scratching on the walls” is delivered in a sing-song way that echoes Trio’s Da Da Da, a song we’re sure wasn’t in their heads but it shows how they can bury a pop melody in the racketry.

Let Me Get High has the slightly surreal feel its title suggests. Prism sounds most like the band we thought of most playing this: Head Automatica, Glassjaw singer Daryl Palumbo’s side band when he wanted to combine hip hop and Britpop. Prism’s opening is almost a carbon copy of the Decadence opener At The Speed Of A Yellow Bullet, although Head Automatica were poppier. Other bands we could cite would be anyone making a racket, from Hives to The Cramps, as well as LCD Soundsystem for some of the funkier moments.

It wouldn’t surprise us if Plague Vendor weren’t fans of Head Automatica: the hip hoppy Snakeskin Boots (which mentions Fred Astaire) and the poppier Night Sweats both channel the Head, though the latter throws in some raucous guitar just to make it clear Plague Vendor are not a pop band.

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