Recording information: Bay 7; Maze Studios, ATL; Sound EQ Studios, LA; The Senate; Westknoll Studio.
Boasting the talents of former Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett and former the Honorary Title lead singer Jarrod Gorbel, the debut full-length album from Night Terrors of 1927, 2015's Everything's Coming Up Roses, provides a good showcase for the duo's earnest, artful, melodic pop. Given Sennett's status as a core member of one of the biggest indie rock bands of the 2000s, it's perhaps not surprising that he and Gorbel sidestep any outright comparisons by moving in a stylistically different direction. Night Terrors of 1927 build upon the guitar-based indie and emo pop leanings of their previous bands with a sound that touches upon synth-heavy '80s new wave ("Perfect Day"), Scott Walker-esque balladry ("Novocaine"), and moody electronic dance-pop ("Running in Place"), all without going too far in any one direction. If in his previous incarnation Sennett was the quiet architect of Rilo Kiley's jangle pop and West Coast folk-rock-influenced sound, Night Terrors finds him acting as a similarly quiet if no less effective architect of the duo's more arch, modernist take on yearning '80s new wave. Tackling most of the instrumentation on Everything's Coming Up Roses, from guitars to keyboards to programming and singing backing vocals, Sennett takes a holistic approach to crafting sophisticated, engaging pop productions. Never an outright guitar virtuoso, Sennett nonetheless still makes his mark, bringing to mind Echo & the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant on the echoey, ringing guitar outro to "It Would Be an Honor" and the similarly dynamic "Always Take You Back." He also knows when to simply blend in, accenting the groove à la Johnny Marr on the bubbly, Tom Tom Club-ish "Perfect Day." However, while Sennett comes to Night Terrors with a higher profile, Gorbel is largely the one in the spotlight here, his resonant baritone and throaty intensity bringing to mind a mix of AFI's Davey Havok and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan. Night Terrors also flirt with supergroup territory, pairing up with sibling folk dynamos Tegan and Sara for the epic earworm and would-be '80s John Hughes film theme song "When You Were Mine." Ultimately, with Everything's Coming Up Roses, Sennett and Gorbel have bridged their seasoned musical pasts into a sweet pop music present. ~ Matt Collar