Brooklyn and New Jersey-based hardcore band Night Birds could pass for any American punk band that has reared its head in the past 30-odd years, but they do their shtick extremely well. Sounding more SoCal than East Coast, even passing for a more modern-day Dead Kennedys, the band has set out on their sophomore release, Born to Die in Suburbia, to make an Album. Yes, Album with a capital A. The record seamlessly blends its 14 songs together, so that one ends where the other begins, making it a punk rock cousin to Blue Öyster Cult’s classic Secret Treaties. The record veers from one-minute thrash stompers to more mid-tempo, slowed down three-minute pieces, and the album blends these varying poles together deftly well.
Beyond the band’s hardcore stylings, there’s a glimmer of surf punk to the proceedings, particularly on songs such as “Silver Alert”. But the band really stretches out on the nearly four-minute “Nazi Gold”, which even has a brief piano chord strike up. Coupled with guest vocals from Eric Davidson of New Bomb Turks and Miranda Taylor of Hunchback and Black Wine, Born to Die in Suburbia is an event. It’s rare that you hear a punk rock album that is this vital, this energetic, and this willing to work as a piece of Art. (Yes, Art with a capital A.) Night Birds prove that they’re among the best punk bands mining the circuit at the moment, and this record should open the group up to a new audience. It’s telling that there’s a song here, an instrumental, titled “Escape from New York”. Based on the evidence, I have no doubt that Night Birds will.