The Constantines - Nighttime (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Constantines

Nighttime (2003)

Sub Pop

Bands I truly feel I grow with are ones I'm usually impartial to on the first listen. I've just accepted this knee jerk reaction as the way my listening habits work. It's likely because I fall in love with a record to such a degree that any new material from the band seems strange and foreign at first. That's what happened with my first listen of the new Constantines single Nighttime. For the past year I've lived and breathed this band. Their juxtaposition of angular, Fugazi inspired punk and soulful folk influences appeal to me like few new groups have. To me, the Cons' debut album represented how a band can be mindful of rock's rich history yet still innovate and provide new ideas.

So like all records I'm slow to warm to yet end up cherishing, "Nighttime" by far didn't immediately grab me. The single from the band's "Shine A Light" is titled "Nighttime Anytime It's Alright." The industrial-clamour of the guitars and bass along with Bryan Webb's raw throated vocals make is an odd choice for a single. This is far from marketable and instantly vanquishes any fears that the Cons' deal with the prolific Sub Pop would have pressured the band to write something for the public palate.

It's their loss though, because these four songs keeps revealing layers with each spin. "Tank Commander" is another solid track from the new full length. Again Webb's urgent howl plays perfectly off the band's quiet-to-dense dynamics. This is followed by a Husker Du-like cover of the Talking Head's "Thank you for sending me an angel." The disc ends with "Hotline Operator," which is more of an organ driven Radiohead-like jam then a traditionally structured song.

While there's no track here as instantly gratifying as "Blind Luck" from the band's fantastic Modern Sinner Nervous Man EP, the Constantines continue to build their catalogue with powerful, layered and intelligent punk.