Friday, June 22, 2007

Psychoanalysis Disguised as Brooding Alt-Rock

The Study of Man . . .
Night Kills the Day
(Score Records)

Night Kills the Day's debut LP, The Study of Man . . . And the Developed Shadow, is an analysis of human behavior, motivation, and the efforts to exorcise demons before they destroy the fragile human life in which they dwell. Oh, and it's also a pretty damn good album.

Driven by Luke Brian's sardonic, nasally whine (that's a compliment, trust me), and Izzy Lugo's dizzying digital dexterity on guitar, Night Kills the Day has cultivated a sound uniquely their own, despite the apparent divergent nature of genres it encompasses.

It's not dance-rock, not prog-rock, not 70s-era hard rock. Although there are songs on the album that could be classified with each ("Rainbows in NYC," "Even Sharks Don't Kill for Fun," and "Final Mask," respectively).

It is this sound the listener melts into on first listen. It would be mistake to become so enamored with the sound as to forget the lyrics, however. Brian spins his emotions and experiences into a complex web at once both acutely personal and utterly universal.

It's the crack in my heart/it's the hole in my soul/it's the voice in my head/always begging for more/it's the look in your eyes/it's the twist of your tongue/it's the world that I breathe/from inside your lungs, he spits in a frenzied trance on "Pornographic," the album's standout track. His talent in creating and delivering lyrics could one day rival Trent Reznor's.

Cover art (co-created by Brian and his girlfriend) for The Study of Man . . . shows a white orchid in full bloom. It must be symbolic of the band itself, because while the album is quite ambitious in scope for a debut, there are only a few forgettable tracks. On the whole, this is a well-aged and polished effort, and I can't help but wonder why NKD hasn't bloomed until now. The answer, perhaps, lays in the lyrics . . .

Fans of Circa Survive, New Order, Muse and musically elaborate rock in general should grab a copy.

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