Review: Night Cleaner – Even

This is the scene in my head. There’s a party going on down the hallway. I haven’t been invited. Instead, the music throbs through my bedroom walls. I lay stranded in the dark, trapped between the time I went to bed (three hours ago? Four?) and the unreachable onset of daylight. Guitars bend out of tune as they hit my eardrums, as if my pitch recognition is too fatigued to keep track. Voices echo down the corridor in splashes of drunken mantra. Drum machines cause my mattress to pulse incessantly. I am stuck within this delirious swirl of noises, beats, strums and echoes – traces of noise rock and danceable electronic sleaze. Gradually, my brain flattens the entire thing into a droning, visceral headache.

Apparently the record was inspired by long drives around the city of Atlanta, and there are numerous potential crossovers between this experience and my analogy to sleep-negating party playlist overspill: sensory stimuli blunted and blurred through monotony, the invasive hum of the engine, the rhythms that span endlessly into the horizon. Both experiences tell of a restless limbo state. And despite the fleeting 19-minute duration, Lambert evokes the sensation of feeling stuck between the point of departure and the place of arrival, with nothing but movement – both in terms of literal travel, and a mind denied its state of stillness – for company.