Review Summary: Knife Teeth, Forked-Tongued, Spoon Eyes!
Nights is a band none of you have heard about. That's a bit unfair. Chances are you've never heard of this band, and it's a tragedy. They are a Cleveland-based dreampop/ shoegaze group that came out of nowhere in early March of this year with this lovely little debut. And boy, oh boy, is it lovely. What distinguishes Nights from the mbv copy-cats that plague modern shoegaze is that they don't do everything by the playbook. Not only is the production on this album the clearest and most crisp I've ever heard within the genre, but Nights slip a magic atmosphere under our pillow, and it carries our dreams for the rest of the record.
Now this album is pretty different take on the genre of shoegaze. While many bands spend a lot of time crafting the layering and aesthetic of an album, Nights puts much more focus on songwriting. The tracks here range from wonderfully bubbly pop tunes ("Rosebush") to heavier rock tunes ("Glow") that give a welcomed abrasiveness in contrast to the mellow fairy-ditties that occupy much of the album. All songs are accompanied by ethereal female vocals led by Jenna Fournier, and this does huge things for the songs on this album. It just exhibits another perfect example of why female vocals sound so inherent in the context of this type of music. Lyrically, many of the songs speak of things like gardens, beckoning trees, stardust, and butterflies. How odd for a shoegaze album. In addition, Nights is able to change the quality of their music easily, with the clever use of transitions and spaces of silence; each preceding track is met beautifully by the next. The melodies present are highly accessible, with vocal hooks left and right, complemented by memorable riffage.
A lot of influences are present here, which is a bit different for the genre. We get many moments of pure post rock, hard rock licks, and even little dabs of pure indie. The album plays it very safe, despite talk of experimentation. Even with the casual nods at other genres, they maintain their pop sensibilities in nearly every track. Is this a bad thing? For Nights sake, absolutely not. Their ability to continually provide us with consistent tunes of the same caliber is something that should be noted. There isn't a dry track on this thing.
With no precedent to follow, Nights explodes onto the scene with a release that's already competing with the greats of celestial pop. Bound to get clumped with the less-than-original acts of today, it's something that truly deserves a greater amount of recognition. Personally would recommend this to people who are fans of the style and those who commonly dislike the genre, because there are some things here that go against the traditional shoegazer's cookbook.