The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

REVIEW: Nightbeast-Inside Jokes For Outside Folks should always be kept in mind that not albums are created equal. Likewise, not all albums are trying to do the same thing. Do you think that Pete Townshend and the guys in Ween are trying to do the same thing? Yeah, didn't think so. In the case of Dayton's Nightbeast, it's pretty safe to assume that this is not intended to be put up for consideration as a stunning work of art from a small-town luminary. Rather, it's a sporadically fun disc of danceable jams that, if properly applied, may very well take yr party up a notch.

From the get-go, Inside Jokes For Outside Folks [Thriving Records] is nothing more, or less, than it's title suggest. In the persona of Nightbeast, Nick Testa is transformed into a character of such self-effacing bravado that it couldn't possibly be taken seriously. One minute he makes overstated claims of his awesomeness and natural endowments, only to be quelled immediately by notions that he's simply talking copious amounts of shit. Once this is taken into consideration and Nightbeast is accepted as merely on the proposition of a fun time, it becomes easier to digest.

Under the guidance of Steve Soboslai of Punchline as producer, most of the beats that populate the disc could easily fill a dancefloor. At times, however, the tracks veer into an over-saturated rehash of some generic 80s compilation as done by Timbaland and then warmed over with emo-fried vocoder tricks. Fortunately, Nightbeast is blessed with a remarkably good sense of humor and, occasionally, dishes out some decent rhymes. While most of his social observations fall well short of insightful, the midly clever dating commentaries of "Jungle First Date" and "Love, Panda Style" are amusing. Likewise, the pop culture references of "Textually Frustrated" speak loud and clear to the T9 set.

The largest chunk of Inside Jokes For Outside Folks, however, is filled with Nightbeast's unending boasts and claims of his myriad achievements. While this is entertaining on a certain level, especially in the context of libations and dancing with lady friends, the disc never really makes it past the mark of novelty. Sure, the acoustic ditty "Songs About" is a nice break in the action, but really the album is a dance party album. And you know what? It seems as if that may be exactly what Nighbeast set out to do...

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