Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 20 Songs 2013: Nightlands - Time & Place




The son of a genetic engineer, Dave Hartley has eschewed his father's profession but decidedly inherited his analytical proclivities and love of "the lab." As Nightlands, Hartley is a scientist trying to create and understand art through analytical process. Here, with sophomore album Oak Island, his follow up to 2010's superb Forget the Mantra, new questions are explored: what happens when the human voice is layered exponentially? Is the sum more man, or more melancholy machine? In seeking these answers, Nightlands takes us on a spirit quest through lush forests down into The Uncanny Valley. Each distorted, silver-voiced melody is wrapped in the sounds of 70s AM gold -- plucked acoustic guitars, trumpets, dulcimers and hand percussion. In using these pop touchstones, the songs become something close to memories, the faded feelings that tide in and out of you when conjuring the past.

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