Night Singers

Eric & Magill

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Night Singers Review

by Fred Thomas

While transglobal collaborators Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman started out in emo-tinged Midwestern indie bands such as Camden, Promise Ring, and Decibully, their work as Eric & Magill took them to new zones both geographic and sonic. Night Singers, the second full-length collection from the duo, was recorded while Weber was stationed in Kenya working with the Peace Corps and Osterman tuned in from Brooklyn. Though the songs here were pieced together through e-mail correspondence and constructed on basic laptops from thousands of miles apart, Eric & Magill still manage to hone a palpable intimacy and sense of connection on these lushly spun songs. Weaving between modes of dreamy-eyed pop and somewhat ethereal folk forms, the ten songs on Night Singers reflect some of the feelings of distance experienced by its makers without ever getting lost inside that distance. The ghostly orchestrated pop of the acoustic-based "Épingles et Aiguilles" manages to be equal parts warm and detached, with haunting backing vocals bathed in reverb offering up codas sung in French as a steady pulse guides this lonesome ballad through its tunnels of hope and yearning. Other softer moments like the fingerpicked guitars and hypnotically lo-fi choir of "We're the Ghosts" and the amiable front-porch feel of "Peaks and Valleys" highlight the album's more organic folk modes, and are almost always followed by larger productions with huge drums, rumbling synth tones, and even occasional vocodered vocals. The zigzagging styles of Night Singers could be disruptive were the quieter songs not equally engaging in their subtlety as pop blasts like "Love Found" and the M83-ish shoegaze electro pop of "Psycho" are in their boisterousness. Relatively brief, the album flies by and requires repeat listens for all of its layers to sink in. Burying as many hidden hooks deep within the production as it does found sounds and field recordings, Night Singers offers a rare example of an emotionally astute pop record sonically detailed enough to get lost in for a while.

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