Record Label: Dead Oceans
The market for obscure pop friendly bands is at an all time high, peculiar acts like Passion Pit, MGMT and Animal Collective have managed to embrace otherworldly sounds but with pop sensibilities to help them reach a wider audience. Another band to follow this lineage is Portland Trio Nurses, who follow up DIY debut album Apple’s Acre with sophomore offering, Dracula. Where as Apple’s Acre was an introspective affair, it was mostly recorded on a Macbook, Dracula is a bolder album and is a natural progression in the terms of using studio trickery to produce bizarre sounds.
Dracula was created in almost complete isolation as the band decamped to the Oregon coast to sew the seeds that would soon become their second LP. The approach to embrace these desolate recording sessions permeates through the record, as the arrangements are all incredibly sparse and seem to pivot on the ever changing glitch that circulates around the lead vocals of Aaron Chapman.
Nurses have managed to birth an album which in sound is undeniably ambitious and unique. However, as an overall listening experience, it’s quite a cold one. The meagre instrumentation conveys a hollow core to the album; the tracks almost appear demo-like, as if Nurses have briefly sketched out the songs to then build upon them at a later date. Chapman’s voice at times grates, as his squeaky vocal delivery jars against the hypnotic melee of Dracula.
The vision is there to produce something strange and compelling, but sadly the finished result doesn’t
quite hit the mark.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams