The Night Marchers CD review by Joseph P. Larkin
May 12, 2008, 02:47
THE NIGHT MARCHERS See You in Magic CD
Comprised of three-fourths of the original Hot Snakes lineup, The Night Marchers are the latest in a long line of rock groups fronted by John “Speedo” Reis, who previously led Rocket from the Crypt and Sultans to glory. Having disbanded all of his most recent groups in 2005 (Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt) and early 2007 (Sultans), Reis remained curiously silent for quite some time—the birth of The Night Marchers marks his return to the world of underground rock 'n' roll (and it is a loud return, my friend). This new Reis vehicle is rounded out by a number of familiar faces, i.e, cronies and former bandmates of Reis, including guitarist Gar Wood, formerly of Hot Snakes and currently of Beehive & the Barracudas, Jason Kourkounis, who did time in Hot Snakes, Mule and Delta 72, manning the skins and Tommy Kitsos of CPC Gangbangs handling bass duties. Now forget everything I just said about the band members' previous musical endeavors cos The Night Marchers sound nothing like any of 'em. Oh, sure, Reis' distinctively raspy voice is still omnipresent and, yes, the catchy hooks are plentiful as one might expect, but this is a brand new beast—those looking for Hot Snakes 2: The Revenge will be baffled by the music of The Night Marchers. Sonically speaking, The Night Marchers most closely resemble the Sultans, but, again, it's absurd to compare projects, as they all have their own unique sounds. And though The Night Marchers may not sound like other Reis-fronted groups of past, that's not to say this super-group won't remind you of scores of rock combos from yesteryear—the band readily admits to being influenced by The Flamin' Groovies, The Nerves, Status Quo, Black Merda and “similar black acid jams,” according to the band's bio, which unselfconsciously name-checks The Byrds, The Wipers, Bo Diddley, Dez Cadena and The Nervous Eaters as well.
See You in Magic, the band's debut, was recorded by long time Reis collaborator Dave Gardner in the fall of 2007 at City of Refuge studio, which is located directly under the flight path used for landings at San Diego International Airport, resulting in the sound of jet engines allegedly being heard on the record, or so the bio claims. Said bio also declares that “this record is a collage of Speedo's favorite guitars, guitarists and guitar stories.” Well, alright! See You in Magic is certainly a guitar-heavy rock record. Standout tracks include “Bad Bloods” and the blistering opener “Closed for Inventory.” Eh, fuck it, they're all standout tracks! Not a bad song here and that'sâ€¦. well, magic.
The Night Marchers have a far more ominous sound than previous Reis affairs. The band is also a more simplified rock group with a somewhat basic rock 'n' roll sound—clearly, there's no desire to reinvent the wheel here. And do we really need them to? I think not. [Swami/Vagrant]
-Joseph P. Larkin