Night School is three young women from northern California. Heart Beat, the band’s first EP, was bashed out in a six-hour period. Listening to this, you would go, yep, this was done in less than a day. It is somewhat lo-fi and scuzzy. And it’s certainly something you’ve heard all before: been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and wept. Night School is another girl group in the tradition of ‘60s acts. The opening drum beat for “Best Friends” is directly poached from the start of “Be My Baby”, so much so that the Ronettes have a case for litigation if they want. When the band isn’t not sounding like a throwback, it’s sounding like Best Coast, Black Tambourine, Vivian Girls and just about any indie band of currency (recent past or present) that has a woman fronting it. So I have to sigh here. This is starting to get old really, really fast. Honestly, there’s not too much more you can do with the girl-group dynamic these days, and Night School is the proof in the pudding.
That’s not to say that the band doesn’t have a knack for melody. “Birthday”, in all of its minor key glory, is satisfactory in a let’s have our birthday cake and eat it too kind of way. “Casiotone” starts out with the strum of a guitar and vocals, and jingles melodramatically. However, for all of this EP’s strengths, and there are plenty, there’s a feeling of over familiarity to this. It’s actually quite depressing when you think about it. Night School just feels so, so generic, and it sounds like this group is trying too hard (or maybe not hard enough given the length of time to record this) to be hip. And why did this band start? According to the press materials, singer Alexandra Morte had nothing better to do. To me, that’s a sketchy reason to start a band, to fight boredom. In the case of Night School, despite having a clutch of good songs, they’re fairly snooze-y. Chances are, you already have this album in your record collection, just not by a band called Night School. Not to be crass, but the best thing I can say is it might be time for this outfit to head back to class and learn how to be unique. Sigh.