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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Nocturnal Animals

Dark Lit Places

Review by Gary Hill

I like this EP a lot. Given that it draws heavily on Green Day-like emo, that says a lot because I don't really like that type of music. Mind you, not everything here is tied to that sound. These guys actually have a pretty varied musical texture. This has variety and class. I'd like to hear more for this outfit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
There is a short clip from a movie at the start of this. The tune works from there to a cool alternative rock meets funky elements sound for the actual song. The vocals somehow remind me a just a bit of James LaBrie from Dream Theater. The music does have some proggy elements, but more on the line of the modern alternative rock leaning prog. I really love the instrumental section on this cut. That said, the whole tune is just plain class.
4 AM
This cut comes in with a mellower section that's a bit like emo. The track grows out from there to a cool jam that has a lot more emo in the mix. This feels a bit like Green Day to me. The tune earns a parental advisory. It makes good use of the contrast between the mellower and more rocking bits.
Red Shoes
Meaty and a bit mean, this one has a lot of emo built into it, too. I really love the vocal performance on this cut. The drumming reminds me of some of the swing music revival. This is another effective song. It's another piece that takes things in a different direction. I love the melodic section that even leans toward a jazzy element. The guitar solo seriously rocks, too.
Piano starts the closer and holds it for the first forty seconds or so. Even then, the other instrumentation serves more as the icing on the piano and voice cake. It's almost a minute and a half before it starts to really rock out. When it does there is a bit more of that Green Day sound. Still, this is another song where the vocals make me think of LaBrie a bit during the mellow sections. Like "4 AM," this track does a great job of balancing the more sedate with the more rocking stuff. 
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