THE NIGHT MARCHERS: See You In Magic [Swami/Vagrant]

If your John Reis fix has been sated in recent years via his signature fretwork in Hot Snakes, it might take a while to warm back up to him in the role of singer in the Night Marchers. Reis is as lyrically blunt as Hot Snakes vocalist Rick Froberg was cryptic, with songs such as “Open Your Legs” and “Closed For Inventory” leaving little to the imagination. But then again, we’ve never looked to the former Rocket From The Crypt frontman for probing insights into the vagaries of life. What we want from him are big, badass riffs, and there are plenty of them here. “In Dead Sleep (I Snore ZZZZ)” is the best, building from a jagged run in the verse to a tense, ascending progression that culminates in a double-time finish. The choruses rarely skimp on melody, and Reis’ urgent delivery hammers them home on “I Wanna Deadbeat You” and “We’re Goin’ Down.” Deviations from the script are interesting but not as successful (the jangly “Jump In The Fire,” the rockabilly “Branded”). Luckily, they don’t detract from the main course: a heaping helping of straight-up rock ’n’ roll like only Reis can deliver. []

—Jonathan Cohen