June 7th, 2009 | Album reviews

Stream: The Nocturnes “I Love The Lighthouse Keeper”


(from A Year Of Spring out now)

The Nocturnes are quick to demolish ideas of Chopin and wistful pianos—by the end of the first song “I Love the Lighthouse Keeper,” 1970s prog rock is clearly a better fit than the 19th century. Non-standard time signatures and abrupt shifts and some unexpected use of synthesizers are all constants on this album, but their aesthetic extends beyond that genre, too. For a duo consisting of Emma Ruth Rundle and Daniel Yasmin, they pack a lot of different sounds into A Year of Spring. Think Sonic Youth, Zeppelin, and maybe even a dirtier, less classical-minded My Brightest Diamond, and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Rundle’s voice has a tendency to veer towards Alanis Morrisette-like caterwauling on a couple songs, but her haunting lyrics and intensity make it easy to forgive when it happens. Yasmin’s drum work is consistently upfront in the mix, and just as consistently satisfying. The two don’t have a problem slipping from raucousness into restraint and back again, an endearing quality that makes songs like “Sink My Ship” so listenable. Aside from the music, Rundle handled the artwork for the album, and her care and time show through. Colored sketches accompany the lyrics, and add depth to the songs themselves.

—Greg Garabedian