Night Slaves – Three And A Half LP (Swimming Faith Records)

Three And A Half is the latest contribution to the broader audiences and the most advanced album by the Night Slaves. Besides conventional roles by John Toohill and David Kane, the group developed up into the quintet by adding Lucy Bell on vocals, Kelly Mordaunt on synth, and Ryan McMullen on guitar. Night Slaves are progressing even further through the endless sonic possibilities, and new members deliver a tremendous performance on their instruments. The sound of the group develops with each new album, and Three And A Half showcases a feasible direction for Night Slaves on their subsequent recordings, but as it usually happens, expect nothing but surprises.

This time, the group evades conventional industrial synth-pop approach they’ve been recognized for and goes more towards sixties garage rock, fifties rock’n’roll, psychedelic Brit-pop, and post-punk. However, the rhythm section is still sampled but designed to emulate the current direction of the group. The subtle dosages of studio reverb are adding some more live feel to the drumming and giving more massiveness to the overall listening experience. Guitars are coming somewhere in the middle with a wide variety of appealing chord progressions, engaging riffages, and simplistic guitar solos. These solos are acting more as the subtle accentuations than classic improvisations, usually heard among the groups who nourish this particular sound.

The synths are maintaining the low-end tones throughout the entire album, but they’re also one of the main ingredients of Three And A Half. Not only they’re providing the foundations for the remaining portion of the group, but synth segments almost entirely absorb with surf rock sounding guitars. Therefore, the overall sound is dense enough to support arbitrary keyboard sequences, which in this case, represent a prime role within the band. Still, Night Slaves appear as organized machinery throughout the complete recording. Both vocalists are delivering their best through perfectly merged vocals. John’s versatile vocals are still commanding enough to fulfill all the requirements of the group. However, Lucy is more than a compelling extension on this album, and her performance comes as a bit of refreshment.

Three And A Half is unquestionably diverse than the previous recordings of the Night Slaves, and the group showcases the uncertain direction for the group that matches their charisma. This style fits them well, and it would be such a shame if they stray from the path on their following albums. Three And A Half appears as a comprehensive amalgam comprised of remarkable compositions that span from psychedelic rock to delicate post-punk sound. The album comes on white vinyl, housed in a marvelous psychedelic cover artwork that will force you to immediately purchase this record. The record is available at the Swimming Faith Records web store.

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