Coming from the city of Atlanta, indie rock outfit Nocturnal Animals dropped a four-song EP titled Dark Lit Places that feels like a re-invention of style and sound from the Georgia-based four piece. Originally, the band was named “Rude!,” but now with a name change, the rock band marries elements of alt/indie rock with some R&B that mostly works at times, but doesn’t feel original or alive.
Kicking off the EP with the song “Teeth,” begins things with a sound clip from Interview with a Vampire, which sets the tone and pace of Dark Lit Places nicely. With dark and macabre imagery, Nocturnal Animals feels like a poppier version of harder sounding “horror rock” bands like A.F.I. and Aiden, but without the punch that makes those bands unique.
Followed by “4am,” lead singer Mason Jones offers high pitch melodies and vocals. Jones can effectively led the song’s dynamic and catchy hooks, but it’s tough to hear what makes Nocturnal Animals special. It seems like the band is still trying to find their sound and style, while there is a lot of potential to create something original instead of wearing their influences on their sleeves.
The song “Red Shoes” takes religious imagery and style in a keen, rapid-fire sound that feels like an early Panic! at the Disco song, but without the style or clever wordplay. The songwriting is pointed and fine, but it just lacks something that will make them stand out from the rest of the flock.
The EP ends with the piano ballad “Satellite” that feels like it should come from Something Corporate or Rooney, but what makes it from Nocturnal Animals? It’s the kind of sound you’d hear playing on the third or fourth stage at Warped Tour. Nothing memorable here.
While Nocturnal Animals is proficient at songwriting and performing, there’s a lot of potential, but something is missing. But all in all, Dark Lit Places is a very good start, but I’m hoping that the band offers something more lasting and unique on their next release. Most of the elements are there, but it just needs some more experimentation and exploration to bring it out.