Music Reviews



Abandoned Love Records

Nire kills me. Every song is a perfectly formed tower of quiet sadness, every chord and slow deep organ line is chosen for maximum effect and played slowly and carefully, the vocals are whispered and tentative – like they’re playing just for you and letting you know that it’s all going to be fine – reading this back to myself, I realize how annoying I must sound, but fuck it’s beautiful. Portland again, dammit.

Nire’s sound is based around Erin Morgan and Josh Hinton’s breathy, hushed vocal interplay, buoyed and raised up tentatively to the heavens with acoustic guitar and ghostly, holy tones coaxed out of any number of old Casios. The songs are hymnlike, sparse and wonderful; it’s equal parts easy folk and suicidally gothic with that back porch, we-all-raised-our-voices together feel that I NEED from music these days. There’s a stillness and calm to Vespers, unhurried and unafraid to be quiet and vulnerable – similar to the strength through humility that I saw in Justin Broadrick’s Jesu live.

The organ on “Girl in the Moon” shimmers and smolders like tiny votive candles, each note a distinct and otherworldly flicker (like Garth Hudson at his best) – here be holy ground – casting a warm, reverent glow on the piano and guitar and the faintest of duets. Or the way the pauses between lines in “All This Time” seem to stretch on for an infinity, just like all the times words have failed you; just one organ note slowly unraveling. Richly expressive piano chords accompany a regretful sigh of “whatever happened to those plans we made for yesterday” on “All This Time.” “Song For Cole” is all cloying gentleness, with the keyboard becoming a third voice.

Bedroom record? Maybe, but the sounds of Vespers are bigger than you could ever imagine. Insular and interdependent, sometimes the knowing silences between lyrics communicate more than the words themselves. The record is unobtrusive and a silent partner, in the same way that Eno’s first Ambient series of records is, but while those are laboratory clinical, this is bursting with heart and wonder – I’d almost be afraid to see this band live, afraid that my hands and feet would be too big, clumsy and knocking things over, destroying the mood of filigree wonder. Think the Pastels, Tim Buckley, the Band, Mojave 3 – beautiful, subtle, comforting, I’m helpless in the face of it.

Late nights with the windows open, amber streetlights, the wind blowing dead leaves, it’s autumn and now I have this record to listen to? Ahhhh, fucking perfect.

Abandoned Love:

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