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Genre-bending The Past And Future With Nightlife: A “fallback” EP Review

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nightlife is a fresh breath of air to a scene chasing after the nostalgic sounds of the past through retro-futuristic releases. The band consists of drummer Isaiah Walker, guitarist Julian Lofton, and vocalist Hansel Romero (who produces their entire discography), a trio hailing from the Baltimore alternative scene. With their brief but succinct EP, new low they established their sound of infectious soul punk, blending the lines between classic R&B and y2k pop with modern alternative rock.

With their second EP, “fallback”, they’ve expanded on that sound with five unique songs exploring different genre elements tied together with a funky groove. Equipped with pop experimentation, vocals and soul reminiscent of Silk Sonic, and a rock infused edge to the likes of Bad Omens, nightlife is sure to have something for everyone.

The EP opens with the brassy, larger than life “nightlife type beat”, kicking off the party. It’s the shortest track on the release, but sets the scene for what’s ahead with all its shimmery production. It’s a fun, groovy song that wants you to get up and move, what’s more to say?

The first track seamlessly flows into the title track, “fallback”. Driven by its funky bassline, the song’s verses build up to the energy pumping chorus led by djent guitar in addition to the bass. It’s song with the signature hallmarks of nightlife and its music video solidifies it with the band’s image apparent with their cool, sleek attire and scenes doused in an ethereal golden light. It’s similar to their music video for “new low” off their prior EP, but it’s clear that much like the rest of the fallback EP, nightlife has expanded on the concepts and sounds from before in a way that just makes sense.

Watch the video for “fallback” below.

The next track, “fool me once” slows down the pace a little with a synth bassline like something out of an 80’s sci-fi film. If the opening track was like a movie opening, this track is like the main character’s contemplative ride through the city. The track slowly builds up as time goes on; Romero’s smooth vocals carry through the quieter parts, leading up to a climax of layered guitars and the beat of a drumset replacing the drum machines from before. It’s truly an incredible track following the pleas of a failing relationship, combining a pop sound and rock breakdown in the most showstopping way possible.

The track then segues into “hard for me”, the penultimate track of the EP. It’s one of the shorter tracks exploring the slower side of nightlife in a way I can only describe as sounding like it’s floating underwater. The synths play ethereally in the background along trap drums as Romero’s vocals are doused in effects, a guitar melody ending the song before it transitions into the last song.

The final track, “no pleasure” revives the energy with a breakbeat reminiscent of an early 2000s dance track with the light synths accompanying it. The track builds up to the inclusion of more guitar and drums in its trance, a hypnotic dance party until it slows down once again. The track ends off with a more rock fuelled denouement, exploding in sound until it sparks out with its quiet, ending of breakbeat drums. The party that at the beginning is over but it’s a pretty great way to end.

Overall, the fallback EP expands on the genre bending concepts introduced by nightlife in new low. They refine the elements they’ve explored in a naturalistic, lively way that keeps listeners hooked for anything. In an age where the alternative scene has its share of derivative music for the sake of nostalgia, nightlife expands on past genres to create something new for the future to look out for.

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