Everything you need to know about Street Nights’ style is thrust in your ears within the first five seconds of “Hong Kong,” the opener of the vinyl-only You Have My Word. Guitar notes are shred and bent, then frontman Jake Morris—former Jogger, currently of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks—lets out a wild yelp. It sounds, quite plainly, like the ’70s.
But Street Nights is not a simple classic-rock revival band, for two reasons. First, there are the lyrics. “If you wanna be my lover/ You gotta pay a cover/ So you’d better get your sweet ass back in line,” Morris drawls in his best Jaggerish slur on “Hong Kong.” He might be aping the Stones, but it’s too self-consciously humorous to register as a deliberate rip-off or even an homage. It’s almost a parody, really.
And second, while the
slow syncopation of “Heartacher” seems lifted almost directly from some
basement studio’s vintage bongwater-stained shag carpet, other songs
explore more eclectic terrain. “Everybody’s Sometime and Some Peoples
All the Time Blues,” written by Soft Machine’s Kevin Ayers, finds the
band locked in a tight, bluesy groove. The title track, meanwhile, owes
more to the Meat Puppets’ cow-punk sound than anything else. Sometimes,
Street Nights’ super-fuzzed guitar solos are plopped into
straightforward and somewhat outdated indie-rock arrangements, but it’s
these flapping-in-the-breeze leads—played, one imagines, with heads
cocked skyward—that hold Street Nights’ disparate and impressive styles
SEE IT: Street Nights plays Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth St., with Regular Music, Spookies, DJ Never Forget and DJ Avant to Party, on Friday, Aug. 23. 8 pm. $3-$5. 21+.