Night Sins’ “New Grave” comes from Avant! Records’ recent past. I remember running into a ton of posts on various blogs and forums around the time it was released. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got so much attention because Night Sins’ members hail from hardcore acts such as Salvation from Youth Attack! and Bridge Nine’s Mother of Mercy. And with a resume like that, I wondered if they’d be another hardcore band. But it didn’t take long to realize that Night Sins is something altogether different.
“New Grave” offers us an absolutely irresistible new take on post-punk. There are so many new artists trying to reinvent that genre that it’s tough for a fan like me to sift through it all and know what stands out and what can be—well—dropped off at the curb. Well, I don’t need to dig too deep to discover greatness. Night Sins is certainly one of those that stand out from the rest. Their whole aesthetic is one of shadows and esoterica and things that go bump in the night. In addition to many artists sounding the same, this image can easily get overdone, become monotonous, and even feel forced or cheesy. But Night Sins pulls it off gracefully. Putting the violent sound of hardcore aside, they go for one that is mysterious yet novel. The bass lines hook me as much as any head bobbing rhythms. I love the flittingly ghostly guitar that seems to grow wings at times. If you listen closely, you might catch cues from The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and others behind their own original take. Surprisingly, the synth doesn’t have the imminent presence I expected. Just enough to contribute to the eeriness. The vocals are a mechanical monotone that bounces off the walls in echo. The choruses don’t merely consist in a spoken poetry but have a singing quality that is rather quite nice. As I listen to this, I can’t help but be transported to the cemetery where their group shots both on the back of the LP sleeve and the photo on the insert was taken. I totally see them playing together on some foggy evening around crumbling marble angels and stone crosses and freshly dug graves. I’d dust off a headstone and use it as a backrest as they bring out the nocturnal side in me. But, it sounds pretty good in my living room too. Try spinning it in yours.