It’s difficult to gauge who Washington quartet Night Argent are being aimed at. Since their success in an Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands won them a chance to play at Warped Tour and a writing/recording deal with John Feldmann, you’d expect their self-titled EP and follow up ‘The Fear’ to pack a mighty pop punk punch, and not sound like it was made for adult alternative radio.
Packing dollops of earnest melodrama and a slickness that gleams with mainstream appeal across six songs, ‘The Fear’ is an EP built upon anthemic pop structures, big hooks and a yearning performance from frontman Chase Manhattan, who quickly distinguishes himself as the focal point of these songs. “I’m a dead man walking, every step a weight I have to bare, feels like the whole world’s watching, I’m as hollow as their empty stares,” he sings during opener ‘Mannequin’, reflecting the lyrical style of this EP; yearning, purposefully vague, and generally pathetic.
Manhattan’s quest to resonate with listeners isn’t aided by the saccharine nature of the band’s songwriting on ‘The Fear’. Lead single ‘Dreamcatcher’ offers a wheeze of distortion in its chorus, but still recalls latter day Take That more than anything that makes rock such a vibrant force in 2017. Meanwhile ‘Heartbeat’ revolves around a fluttery acoustic guitar melody that could sit comfortably on One Direction’s ‘Made in the AM.’
It would be elitist on our part to outcast ‘The Fear’ for being a pop album, but it’s not even that great a pop record, with a lack of personality, charisma and colour making it a pretty thankless listen. But no doubt, you’ll be hearing the name Night Argent more in the future, because these songs are bland and inoffensive enough to get played on your grandparents favourite radio show.
‘The Fear’ by Night Argent is out now on Outerloop Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)