Night Beats have always put out music that sounded as if it had been locked away into a time capsule back in 1969 and had been recently unearthed for all to behold. Their new album, Who Sold My Generation, doesn’t change that formula. Instead, they’ve tweaked their strange trip to include some Philly soul leanings and psych-inflected R&B, all with just the right amount of grit and grime.
Night Beats new long player opens to the sound of a static-y radio as a voice speaks in a British accent, but within a few seconds “Celebration #1” kicks in like some militant psychedelic rallying cry. It comes across as angry, but indifferent. Yeah, things suck. Whatcha gonna do? “Power Child” has a great bass/drum groove going on as the chorus blows up into a killer psych/soul mind melt. It’s like Otis Day and the Knights dropped some acid before the show at Delta Tau Chi. “Right/Wrong” sounds like The Yardbirds in a melancholy mood, complete with a “For Your Love”-like guitar line. “No Cops” comes roaring in as if BRMC time-traveled back to 1966 to some suburban garage party and blew suburbia’s mind. This is definitely one of the catchiest songs Night Beats have put to tape(and yes, I have heard “Puppet On A String”.) “Sunday Mourning” has a killer groove with vocals that bring The Beta Band to mind, mixed with a healthy dose of Roky Erickson for good measure. The guitar solo here is part freak out and part Band of Gypsies-era Hendrix. It’s damn good.
Night Beats seem to have upped the ante on this album. There’s still tracks like the acid cowboy freakout of “Shangri Lah” and the desert roadtripping daze of “Burn To Breathe”, as well as the reverb-drenched rocker “Last Train To Jordan”. But there’s also a surprise in the horn-powered “Bad Love”. It’s a brass-driven tale of woe that sounds like Del Shannon went on a bender at Muscle Shoals with Tower of Power. It’s a great tune, complete with piano and a great back beat. “Egypt Berry” is the last thing you hear, and it leaves its mark with some serious garage/punk/desert rock groove.
If you’re familiar with Night Beats previous LPs, then Who Sold My Generation won’t seem wholly new to you. But what it will seem to be is a band focused on honing their particular brand of psych and garage rock. Night Beats are towing the line of psych, soul, and R&B quite nicely. And there’s still plenty of freak outs to go around.