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Nightlands’ Oak Island displays a unique voice(s)

Last updated on January 6, 2022

I’ve had an absolutely madcap time trying to fit the work of four days into five. This would usually call for my power music, but instead I’ve had the lush, mid-tempo Oak Island by Nightlands on repeat. I’d like to say that I did this perfectly to try to calm the clatter in my head, but the real story is that I can’t get “Other People’s Pockets” out of my head.

Penultimate tune “Other People’s Pockets” is indicative of the tunes that Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs’ bassist) has crafted on the album. The album relies heavily on walls of vocals cascading over a beautiful, lackadaisical indie-pop background that foregrounds mood over virtuoso playing. I absolutely adore vocal harmonies, and Hartley provides them here and elsewhere in spades. Opener “Time and Peace” offers another inviting atmosphere, this time pairing Hartley’s multitracked vocals against a thrumming bass line and a quick tempo for a memorable tune.

The rest of the album unfolds between these two pillars, delivering more quietly rapturous moments. It’s difficult to explain how music this carefully crafted in a studio can feel spontaneous and unscripted, but there’s a sense of breezy ease throughout the album nonetheless. Some may say that the vibe is a little too easy in the middle of the album, but I like the consistency. None of the tunes stick out positively, but none fall apart and stick out negatively, either. It’s a strong album to listen to from start to finish, and there can never be too many of those.

If you’re into lush, highly orchestrated indie-pop/indie-rock, you should check out the unique voice(s) that Nightlands uses on Oak Island.