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I continue to be impressed by everything Wyatt Parkins releases on his imprint, Saint Marie Records. This debut album from LA’s Nightmare Air is no exception. It contains the usual elements of dream pop and shoegaze, the hazy punch of guitars (courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Dave Dupuis, Film School) and daydream vocals floating through the mix. But there is more than a dollop of spacey ambiance swirling through the sonic mists, elevating Nightmare Air into the same realms as bands like Experimental Aircraft and Malory. “18 Days” is a prime example of what I mean, and this could be the perfect first single. Bassist/vocalist Swaan Miller’s languid vocals are right up front, rather than buried in the mix as they are on other songs. She could well be the band’s secret weapon, as they knock it out of the park on the album’s stunning closer “Wolf in the Wood”. It shifts gears several times within the song, but never misses kicking you in the head as it skates across your senses. It has the hallmarks of a great live track, which makes me suspect this trio kills it in concert.
Nightmare Air is leading the charge into the first quarter of 2013 with possibly the finest shoegaze album I’ve heard so far this year. Even knowing shoegaze is a mere label, I can tell you this album is much more than that. It combines the finest elements of that genre and pushes it to a new level of awesomeness. Check it out for yourself on March 19th.
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