Nightmarathons – Missing Parts

Pittsburgh punks Nightmarathons are a relatively new band having only formed in 2016. It is something that strikes you as you listen to their new full-length album Missing Parts- “this band is only a few years old?”. Missing Parts is anything but the sound of beginners cutting their teeth- in fact, it sounds like the trials and tribulations of a band with thousands of miles on its tour van, a thousand cigarettes in the wind, and a thousand shows in cities and basements across the country. It is part blue-collar punk, all-grit and discord, but its also distinctly youthful; melodic and hopeful. You’ll hear the sounds of early Against Me!, but you’ll also hear “The Bright Lights of America”-era Anti-Flag. You’ll feel the frenzied aura of The Broadways and Hot Water Music and revel in the sandpaper vocals, but you’ll also feel the pensive punk of American Steel. And through its 11-songs, you’ll hear countless stories of life that you thought could only come from bands with years behind them.

It is impossible to look past the opening cut “Waiting Room” (with its skittering intro and gradual build), and the fantastic “Reset” as songs that are immediate and captivating. The latter being an example of the band’s ability to craft songs that are urgent and frenetic without having to sacrifice any of its catchiness. The song’s energized veneer and perfectly timed gang-vocal sing-a-longs gives it an anthemic quality. Songs like “Closer” paint a slugdier, mid-tempo picture, while “Estimate” is a song that benefits from its sprinkling of heartland rock n’ roll.

Much of Missing Parts is made the more dynamic by Nightmarathons’ love for high-energy melody that eschews overproduction for a rawer sounding quality. The record sounds organic, almost more analog in resonance than it does overly “digital”. It’s not that it sounds like it was recorded in a trashcan, it just sounds like an actual band recording with actual instruments in an actual recording studio. And that’s something to hold on to in today’s easy-from-home production of computer-generated sound.

As “Cemetery Road” brings Missing Parts to a close, you’re left with a sense of genuine satisfaction. Nightmarathons have 11 songs that on the bright occasions really, really shine brightly. You’ll not only come back to this record for some great songs, but because you feel like you’re listening to something worth listening to. Missing Parts is a great record that proves that the energy and vitality of punk vagabonds live vibrantly in some of America’s most storied cities.

(A-F Records)

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