Nocturnal Animals are here to bring biting alt-rock back into the ring with their debut EP, Dark Lit Places — a strong first effort that is not afraid to be upfront about where it stands. The Atlanta four-piece released the EP on October 30th and have been gaining traction ever since.
Nocturnal Animals use angst as a weapon in their music: the EP kicks off with the dark and guitar-driven “Teeth”. The personality here is what shines, from the vocals to the slow and emotional guitar solo. The edginess is blurred with romance: “Leaving lipstick on my pillowcase like it’s marked in blood red ink,” Mason Jones sings. The darkness returns on “Red Shoes” which uses biblical allusions and ties them to a sense of badassery. Yeah, that’s a word now. Because Nocturnal Animals are at their best when they commit to the mood: “Satellite” is another stand out and slows everything down for a melancholy piano ballad. When it breaks open, the timing feels exhilarating.
From the harmonies at the end of “4 AM” to the pulse-pounding pace of “Red Shoes”, Dark Lit Places is a release of specific choices, and choices that work well to reinvigorate a love of the sort of alt-rock that used to be champion.