Power trios are holy in the history of rock n’ roll. Whether we’re talking about the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Cream or Green Day and Nirvana, when you’ve got a guitar – bass – drums layout and a lot of attitude, you don’t need much else to strike up a winning formula for stimulating rock fans; that’s where modern rockers Nocturnal Animals enter the picture. Nocturnal Animals are stripping away the overpriced polish from their alternative-branded riffage in the new single “LHW,” and for their efforts I think they deserve quite a bit of applause.
MORE ABOUT THE BAND: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/nocturnal-animals-0
There’s a lot of volume on the bass part in this track, but it’s entirely necessary to give the bottom-end that iconic crunch most of us have unconsciously come to associate with some of the greatest singles ever made in rock, punk and metal. You can’t get around the grunge influence in “LHW,” but there’s a lot more to the structure of the hook than mere Seattle-worshipping handiwork alone. The pop sensibilities here are what make the swing of the percussion and bassline so sexy, and more importantly, accessible to casual rock listeners and diehard buffs alike.
The chorus here feels a little more like a situation of controlled chaos than it does anything a band would design an entire song around, but regardless of the order in which everything came together in “LHW,” there’s a fluidity to the music that makes it awfully hard to hit the stop button once you’ve pressed play. Nocturnal Animals have a lot of angst in their performance, but it never translates into the gloominess that left a lot of audiences out in the dark towards the end of the pop-emo age in the 2000s. There’s no goth element for us to contend with here – it’s mitigated by a self-awareness that has been strangely absent from most of the mainstream content I’ve been spinning this year.
Despite the heavy pressure coming off of the lower-end tones in this mix, the guitar is constantly the most cutting element for us to zero-in on around every bend in the beat. Everything is so crisp and well defined for how grimy a harmony Nocturnal Animals are playing with in “LHW,” and for the most part, I really like that they aren’t trying to recreate the DIY noise of their influences while still taking some serious cues from how they went about making their music subtly machismo-laced.
2020 has absolutely been a rough year on rock and those who have taken care of the genre for the last couple of decades, being that live music – the most important part of what the rock n’ roll identity consists of – has been taken off of the table entirely but thanks to indie players like these cats, there’s still some level of excitement to get us through this relative professional lull. Nocturnal Animals are responding to the call for something hot and heavy to help us survive isolated times, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of their labor.
by Bethany Page