Music Reviews
Nights in the Dark

California X Nights in the Dark

(Don Giovanni) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

There's something commendable about young guys with guitars saluting to the old guard. Amherst, Massachusetts act California X take major pride in delivering a pulverizing attack of no-frills, boisterous rock n’ roll that is all brass and knuckles. The follow-up to their self titled release, Nights in the Dark doesn’t make any apologies about keeping their dual heroic riffs and sludgy, mid-tempo vamps rooted in place. Slowing things down a notch is a noticeable change from the mostly gung-ho California X, which shifted between chugging, fuzzed-out guitar glory and pop-informed melodies.

Things must have mellowed for the foursome, as Nights takes a page from bands like Kyuss with its heavy desert grooves and clean, though coarse instrumental passages. There’s certainly more variety at hand, and two instrumental tracks that split the record at different points, Ayla’s Song and Garlic Road, show a more tender side with a wistful air of nostalgic lilt that proves they’re more than scuzzy, long-hair dudes that only take pleasure in breaking out solos with gleeful abandon. Ambition comes in different forms, with two of those tracks segueing into two-parters that further expand their penchant for soft-loud dynamics.

What Nights possesses in skillful precision and tight musicianship it lacks in songwriting polish, though it’s easy to dismiss when it hits you with its triumphant highs. It ultimately rings a tad hollow, seeing as it glides by quickly without really announcing itself. They’re beginning to come into their own as a unit, and that ubiquitous guitar sound is evidence of their fiery passion.