Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Nurses - Dracula

Portland trio Nurses’ second offering is most definitely a grower, at first seeming a little slow or boring. However one or two listens definitely do not do this wonderfully offbeat psych-pop album any justice whatsoever. Lead vocalist Aaron Chapman’s voice is distinctive to say the least, an oddball falsetto if you will, and it takes a bit of getting used to at first. However it definitely marries well with the off-kilter music; most of the songs on Dracula are textured and hypnotic, reminiscent of Animal Collective and Yeasayer.

Spaced-out opener ‘Fever Dreams’ gets the album off to an excellent, echoey start; this strong start is continued through ‘You Lookin’ Twice’ and on early listens the album seems to go downhill from here. The songs just don’t seem to have Animal Collective/Yeasayer’s instant kooky appeal. However Dracula as an album isn’t short of weird noises echoing around like half-imagined animal calls in an exotic jungle. ‘You Lookin’ Twice’ for example has a sort of prehistoric whistling running through it (that reminds me specifically of short-running CBBC cartoon Pitt & Kantrop, maybe slightly obscure and off topic) It is these elements, along with layered harmonies that make the album a very intriguing listen.

On further listens, other songs start to jump out too, such as ‘Trying To Reach You’, where these offbeat harmonies, plonky piano and a clap-along beat make it pretty infectious, especially with the layered harmony of "waiting..." at the end. Other stand-out songs include ‘Extra Fast’ (which I adore due to the lyric ‘I’m walking extra fast...’ summing up my approach to pounding the pavements.); and ‘Wouldn’t Tell’, with its rattling drums and strange, echoey noises in the background, not to mention it being a prime example of Aaron Chapman’s impressively odd voice. Dracula is brilliantly and defiantly quirky, and not boring in the slightest, with plenty of hooks that you may find yourself warbling along to, even if you don’t understand what Chapman is warbling himself a lot of the time!


By Holly Read-Challen

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