Surprises are in short supply on too many current indie-rock releases, but Dog Day's Night Group has plenty, though they aren't all pleasant. The Canadian band opens its debut with "Lydia," which begins like a dirge, then explodes into a startlingly catchy verse that opens space for singers Seth Smith and Nancy Urich to lace together their glassy voices and hint at some of Versus' best co-ed harmonies. The rest of the album is just as poundingly infectious, punctuated with lyrics that wander lazily before resolving chirpiness and desolation into a single, synth-buoyed hum. But in spite of its many virtues, Night Group winds up feeling static and bland, crippled by a rhythmic and emotional sameness that slips from attention as quickly and easily as it enters. The disc's real surprise is that so much twitchy energy and earnest songcraft can't jell into a more satisfying sound.

Advertisement