Night Riots HOWL
    • TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2014

    • Posted by: Rebecca Chodorkoff

    Night Riots has perhaps not yet accomplished the level of notoriety they deserve (MTV nodded towards the group as one of "The Most Criminally Overlooked Artists Of 2012"), but this certainly hasn't stopped them from laying their emotions bare, and releasing a no-nonsense EP worthy of a listen. Even if (like me) the bold sounds and high-octane vocals aren't quite your thing, one must admit that props are due, if only because HOWL is so strikingly self-assured.

    There is nothing ambiguous or uncertain going on. The EP isn't mild, or subtle, or mysterious, or cool for that matter. HOWL doesn't beat around the bush. "No shame, I believe I'm in love with you," sings Travis Hawley on "Follow You," the final track of the record, and no shame is exactly right. "Contagious" shamelessly harkens back to the good ol' emo days of black eyeliner and chemically straightened hair (is emo even still a thing?), while "Holsters" has the sonic feel of a guilty-pleasure U2 anthem. The intro track, "Oh My Heart," kicks off the whole album with a persistent beat that propels the tune, and the album as a whole, confidently forward.

    Although there is definitely some heartbreak and crooning included in this punchy EP, there is a certain optimism portrayed throughout. It is the driving force for Night Riots as a group, and a refreshing departure from so many artists who seem resigned to depressive self-indulgence. Hawley sings in the soaring "Break," that "We have a spark of hope from the cradle to the grave...they will try but they will never break what you are." Perhaps there is something a bit corny going on, but the semi-cheesy nature of it all is kind of what compels me to give HOWL a shot despite my initial inclination to write it off. I implore you to do the same, you might end up liking what you hear despite yourself.

    HOWL is due out January 20th via Sumerian Records. Pre-order the album here, and watch the video for "Oh My Heart," below:

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