Relevant Noise is a more introspective album than at first it may appear. Night Herons brandish a unique ability to wrap real emotions in pure (and occasionally old-school) rock and roll. It’s a gift that lends itself to giving the listener the experience of being halfway through a song before a lyrical moment reaches out and squeezes the air from their lungs. Take a deep breath.
The themes are subtle, but they’re there. “I compromise my life, doing what I like,” Dana Berry near-shouts on opening track “Compromise”, and we can trace this duality of rapture and struggle throughout Relevant Noise. From the concrete descriptions and questions that make up the lyrics of “Blurred” which evoke the confusion that life creates, to the repeated desire to feel alive (“Glaciers”), and the exploration of the cost of feeling alive (“Sunflowers”, “Feels Like a Breakdown”). If the beginning of the album explains the compromises we sometimes must make to do what we love, then the final song, “Overload”, explains some of the losses: “I see you all the time. I don’t need it, feels like overload.”
All of this is tangled up with a certain nostalgia that comes with making straight up guitar-driven rock and roll — the kind of rock that features pop-up guitar riffs between vocal lines as featured on “2×2”. A special attention should be payed attention to the bass lines, which often become a driving force, notably on “Wildfires” and “Stay Awake”. Night Herons make sure to give each element a chance to shine, and the drum fills on “Razorblade” really punctuate the track. Despite the familiar genre, Night Herons don’t lose track of their meaning, and do an excellent job of bringing the contrast of the lyrics to the musical side. “Let Me In” slides from soft and atmospheric to momentous, all the while keeping the mood steady. “Blue River” opens like a pop song, but uses punk-like vocals to keep the track adherent to the album’s sound.
If you’re looking for rock music that isn’t afraid to get real, Night Herons have some Relevant Noise for you. You can hear more from the band on their Facebook page and BandCamp. You can also follow Night Herons on Twitter.