For someone with as much restless creative energy as John Reis, the past few years have been relatively quiet for the seasoned garage rock guru. After years of overlap while juggling an impressive stable of bands, including Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and the Sultans, Reis pared down his musical slate to focus exclusively on The Night Marchers
, a lean, greasy garage rock outfit boasting three-quarters of the Snakes.
The band’s 2008 debut, See You In Magic, fit Reis’ sonic stock like a glove, but a follow-up proved considerably slow in coming. Now four years and change later, the band returns with Allez Allez, another chiseled collection of raunchy punk and blues-inspired garage fodder that proves the band’s curious downtime wasn’t spent in vain.
While Reis’ prior bands each took on unique musical identities of their own, The Night Marchers exist almost as a grab bag — a taster’s choice of the various sounds and styles that have influenced Reis over the course of his career. There’s plenty of blistering punk energy (“Loud, Dumb and Mean”), cranky noise rock (“Tropical Depression”), and terse street rock (“Fisting The Fan Base”, “Thar She Blows”). But the album also works in some broader blues-rock influences that, while always tucked away in the band’s gritty palette, were rarely more than hinted at before (“Big In Germany”, “Roll On”).
Having recently rekindled the spark with a few old flames in Rocket and the Hot Snakes, it’s easy to wonder what impact that had on the direction Reis has taken on Allez Allez. But all said and done, score this as another understated triumph for a band built on the blood and sweat of the greaser rock sounds of yesteryear.
Essential Tracks: “Loud, Dumb And Mean”, “Roll On”