Continues to find traction without lyrics
Six years since their last album, Pelican has finally come out with their sixth full-length studio album, Nighttime Stories. Since their last album release in 2013, Forever Becoming, the band has put out an EP called The Cliff. While three out of the four songs on that EP had vocals, this new album aligns with Pelican’s typical instrument-based tracks.
With four members and three instruments used (guitars, bass and drums), Pelican continues to compose engaging material that doesn’t need lyrics to keep people listening. Anyone familiar with the band can attest that they are known for extended tracks which can be seen on this album with four of the eight tracks exceeding six minutes. While the thought of an eight-minute track (“Full Moon, Black Water”) with no lyrics doesn’t excite, the band finds ways to create compositions that are drawn out but have enough change throughout to keep things fresh.
Only one song on the album feels long and that’s the fourth track, “Cold Hope.” After a few moments, it feels like the song is drawn out too much because of the repetitive riff throughout that creates this sensation. During some points, it does save itself by almost getting to a point of being too much, but it layers new sounds on top for the ear to pick up. Overall, if this seven-minute track was cut a little shorter, it wouldn’t feel like two songs have gone by in the one.
Another track that seems static throughout is “It Stared at Me,” which is the fifth track and comes right after “Cold Hope.” This song is the slowest on the track and tends to stay the same in its three-minute span. Unfortunately, there is no real change until the end which makes the song hard to get through if people can’t withstand two minutes of the same notes over and over. It isn’t until the last minute of the song when new elements are added.
But, while those songs may be blimps on Nighttime Stories there are shining tracks sprinkled throughout. The opener, “WST,” feels like a song that would the soundtrack leading up to a fight scene in a movie, specifically the middle portion. The soft guitar plucking creates a soft yet intense atmosphere that gets hit with these big crashes of drums to add to the vibe.
The title track song is, by far, the highlight of the album and catches people’s attention from the beginning. People could listen to the album without looking at the titles of the tracks and every time this song comes on, they would be able to pick it out. It’s aggressive and will make fans bob their head along and it amplifies each new element it introduces. Fans won’t want this track to end.
Overall, Nighttime Stories has great song throughout with just two in the middle that tend to disrupt the flow. Luckily, “Nighttime Stories” comes right after “It Stared at Me” which is the pick up needed at that point.