From the first swell of the piano swirling out of the silence to the last notes as they gently chime hope, Open All Night lets you know it has a story to tell. The songs all comfortably stand alone; some are classic pop/rock anthems with big choruses that will make you want to sing along, and some are romantic waltzes that give away Zoo's classical training, and still others blur the lines between those two. Together though, the songs coalesce into a structure, pointing to and telling an over-arching story if you'll let them, like a picture that you can only see when you don't look right at it.
Open All Night is the tale of a young man who falls in love with his troubled waitress and tries to win her heart while she works the overnight shift at an all night diner. Listening to this album is like reading the journals of the two main characters. You'll see the neon signs, the jukebox, the breakfast plate with midnight pancakes, the regulars drinking their coffee amid the bustling closing time bar crowd; you’ll see the broken hearts. Their story is told in escalating scenes of emotion: from his being captured by her beauty to her sad search for love, from the back story between them to her abusive relationships, from her escape from her family to her eventual need to return. At the beginning of the story he is going to the diner to see her, but as the story unfolds he ends up going to the diner because he has nowhere else to go. After learning that he is not the only one there for reasons beyond food, he hears a couple of the other people’s stories,. Then the album closes with all eyes on the song about love, love like everyone in the diner wants to find.
With Open All Night, Joe Next Door establish themselves as writers of albums, as well as songs. The textures are skillfully woven and deeply layered, taking advantage of Zoo's ability to soulfully play many different instruments, and they reward repeated listening with new secrets that slowly reveal themselves as your ears grow accustomed to the rich walls of sound. Zoo's lyrics are clever and subtle, never cliche, and while they don't require that you pay close attention, you'll be pleased when you do.
Listen to Open All Night. Then listen to it again. And again.