While Plague Vendor’s acclaimed 2014 debut embodied free-spirited Californian surf-punk, and their equally lauded 2016 follow-up ‘BlOODSWEAT’ unfurled like the audible equivalent of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas’ psychedelic desert road trip, the punk rockers latest ‘By Night’ sees the two collide headfirst under the watchful eye of producer and creative behemoth John Congleton.
A driving force underpinning the simultaneously dense and sparse sound on their second full-length, their experimental edge has been further honed and crafted in conjunction with the producer, who among a plethora of artists has recently collaborated with the likes of St Vincent and Sharon Van Etten. Taking their characteristic off-kilter moments, the result sees Plague Vendor’s ferocious punk swirl around explosions of synth and thunderous electronic drums, a combination that ultimately propels their ever-present homage to classic sounds into the present day.
‘By Night’ launches into the frenetic lead single ‘New Comedown’ - a title that accurately reflects the claustrophobic intensity of things to come. It sets the largely unwavering pace of the album, a brilliantly unforgiving onslaught of distorted riffs and rhythmic drums that powers through the likes of the suitably psychedelic ‘Let Me Get High’ and the surf-infused ‘Night Sweats’. Then as suddenly as it started, ‘By Night’ ends with a scream that unapologetically cuts through the modern interpretation and expert delivery of blues-tinged punk rock.