Music for One-Night Stands
Do you ever wish the ’80s never ended? Mark Brooks and Emily Kavanaugh of Night Club are on your side.
Love Casualty, the band’s latest release, is a collection of five songs that sound like they were pulled straight from the catalog of your favorite new wave, synthpop one hit wonder. Brooks is an accomplished director and producer in many genres, possibly most well known for directing the Metalocalypse cartoon. With a background like that, you’d expect him to be adept at genre satire, and he is. However, this isn’t just a one-off ironic joke band. While Night Club is definitely campy, it’s more than camp. It is to dance music what Metalocalypse’s Dethklok is to metal.
Musically, Brooks and Kavanaugh are as tight as almost any EDM act in the world today. Many of their songs have a distinct New Order flavor, which is the perfect sound for any sweaty club setting. Kavanaugh sings through the catchy dance tracks like a raunchier Kylie Minogue, giving Love Casualty a sexy edge that makes it a really fun record.
Not every piece of music has to be high art. Night Club isn’t going for sonic innovation or deeply philosophical themes here. After all, no one listened to Duran Duran for their thought-provoking lyrics and genre-bending creativity. Love Casualty follows the formula of classic ’80s dance pop: expert production, high energy, strong electronic beats and sex appeal. This is what makes Night Club a successful band. They’re going for a specific sound and doing it right. A lot more “serious” bands lack exactly this kind of creative direction, and their music suffers as a result.
On the whole, Love Casualty plays like a tribute to the sexy dance anthems from an era of shallow excess. If a song like Berlin’s “Sex (I’m A…)” could be expanded into an entirely new band, that band would be Night Club. From the opening lines of “Don’t Wanna Love You Forever” to the final note of “Strobe Light,” it’s continuously hot, sweaty, and fun. It is not, however, mindless. While this isn’t music to think about, this kind of satirical tribute takes more musical sensibility than a lot of today’s artists have. That’s why it works. Love Casualty is actually smarter than the usual fare, simply because it has enough sense to revel in its own shallowness.