If you’re of the certain age that I am, chances are your mid-teens were filled with bands like Blink-182, All-American Rejects, Yellowcard and Jimmy Eat World. But refusing to be swept away with the tide that is conformity, I sat on the fringes, listening and liking what I heard. I was too busy falling in love with AC/DC, Aerosmith, System of a Down and anything Slash was even remotely connected to.
In the search for modernity, I enjoyed the dulcet tones of All-American Rejects, Yellowcard and Bowling For Soup before I found today’s modern rock staples. As such, something like Nightlife’s debut album, Salt & Acid should fall into a “guilty pleasure”. Except they don’t exist (a conversation for another day).
In 2017, pop punk means A Day to Remember and bands of that ilk. But they’re not exactly pop. Or punk for that matter. That’s where Nightlife comes in. To remind me of what might not be my bread and butter but something I can pick up maybe once a year and suddenly I’m fifteen again. Full of pop hooks and harmonised vocals, Salt & Acid is vintage pop punk at its absolute best. And as ever, it’s relatable. Because who doesn’t want a reminder of life’s reality?
It’s a stark reminder, for me, that your taste in music is essentially a multi-headed hydra. With crunching punk riffs provided by Paul Foster and Will Wilson, there’s an innate earworm factor to the music and you’re singing along in no time. So they nail the pop factor. It’s also more tame than conventional punk. However, it sounds punk with its defiant nature with many of the tracks delving into the idea of never giving up.
There’s fat bass breakdowns from Lewis Harrison and with Foster’s archetypal pop punk voice, you could have played this in the late 00s and it would have gone down a storm. While it’s not my go-to “sound”, it’s garnered a smile from me and if you were (or still are) fully submerged in that style of music, you’ll love Nightlife.
Songs like “Wake Me When It’s Over” and “Purgatory” provide great songs to bob your head along to in the form of Garth Vickers’ drums and the percussion during “Out of Your Mind” is sheer bliss. Actually, that entire song is. With a massive singalong chorus, it feels as if it was built for an audience to scream it back at the band.
The term “pop punk” may have been bastardised in recent years by what is essentially alternative rock. However, Nightlife have managed to craft a sound which they likely grew up listening to. It may have been thrown to the fringes with most of the bands having fallen by the wayside but Salt & Acid flys the flag high for those of us who remember what pop punk could be: relatable and good fun.
Salt & Acid is out now