The Night Of Love reviewed at Mess&Noise

Now You’re Infected!!! is the debut album by The Night Of Love, a psychedelic improv outfit with members based in Brisbane and Newcastle.

Most of the 12-strong ensemble play in other bands such as Crab Smasher, Brassskulls and Taste of Teeth to name just a few, and while this album was only released a little earlier this year the band’s second album Burn Kids is already out, indicating a prolificacy reminiscent of their US stylistic counterparts (Sunburned Hand of the Man, Sun City Girls, even a fraction of Animal Collective’s output).

As such, you might know immediately what to expect: long freeform jams, extended ritualistic dirges, strange unidentifiable sounds, and the occasional lapse into rhythmic coherence to break the monotony up a bit. You’d only be half correct.

The Night Of Love — entirely spontaneous and unencumbered by foresight on the surface — still sounds like a group that has determined exactly the textural path it wishes to explore. Maintaining focus when the combined ill whims of 12 musicians could gash the tenebrous fabric of this music is alone indicative of flair.

The music itself is rich with detail, and contained within an almost tactilely damp, occult-like atmosphere. ‘To Stay Here Is Like Dying’ is a 15-minute practice in tension: the roughshod percussion and hardly-played guitars palpably drag like chain on cement, while ‘One Claw In Eight’ gives way to a taut detuned funk, a sense of unease maintained by oppressive reverberation and barely audible monotone pitches. It feels like the ceiling is slowly lowering to crush.

Of course, like most ‘weird’ bands, there’s an almost parodic grimness to what they do, an awareness that the ‘evil’ they conjure is mere caricature.

It’s clear when — as the band wraps up the final funk-laden track — there’s a sudden, disconcerting explosion of laughter. The perspective is almost relieving, as the Night of Love are assured specialists in ambiguity. It’s open-ended music, and whether it’s monumentally dark or just cleverly deceptive is, apparently, all up to the listener.

by Shaun Prescott

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