Night School – Birthday (Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
It’s very rare that a song comes along in the middle of the night and manages to be so good that it warrants an immediate write-up. There’s no accounting for what kind of material will emerge over the next 24 hours but if any of it manages to be better than Night School’s “Birthday”, rest assured, it will get a write-up at some point. That said, it’d be criminal not to feature “Birthday”, an explosive pop-indebted shoegaze tune that comes courtesy of Graveface Records.
Before going any further, some exposition should be noted: one of the three members of Night School, who will be releasing their debut EP Heart Beat on October 7, used to be in Whirr. While there are similarities between the two acts, they only run at surface level. Night School’s latched onto something that feels new; a welcome expansion in the increasingly accommodating field of shoegaze sub-genres. There are shades of Phil Spector interwoven with sounds that pull from all over both his catalog and the continuously evolving field of DIY punk. Thankfully, this doesn’t result in “Birthday” sounding like a complete and total mess- instead it gets presented as some kind of damaged dream that Alexandre Morte and the rest of her band are desperate to hold on to. Battered guitars create a wall of sound that’s as lush as it is intimidating, the rhythm section powers everything forward with gnashing teeth, and the vocals are practically floating as they create an introspective atmosphere that, impossibly, contrasts and complements the sonic chaos taking place beneath. It’s a gorgeous, towering piece of work that should turn a lot more heads in the days to come. If the rest of Heart Beat winds up being this good, Night School may just be on the verge of releasing something truly great.
Listen to “Birthday” below and take part in Graveface’s intriguing “glorified pre-order” kickstarter campaign here.