Through the Night – No Depression Review

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ALBUM REVIEW

Lord Nelson – Through the Night

Virginia natives Lord Nelson, led by brothers Kai and Bram Crowe-Getty, is a five piece band with a distinctive instrumental sound and a palpable sense of inspiration surrounding their music. The band first formed in 2012 and has steadily risen since then on the backs of deeply affecting live performances and top notch writing content that conveys the spirit of the times while also opening a pipeline for listeners running direct into the band’s personal consciousness. Their experiences inform every aspect of these songs, not just lyrically, and they offer a fresh re-envisioning of traditional sounds and forms few contemporary outfits can even equal, let alone surpass. Lord Nelson grapples with weighty themes and engages listeners with accessible tunes, but the performances never fail to be entertaining on their second album Through the Night and the ten songs included with this release will bolster their standing.

The resounding drums opening “Second Chances” lays down a mid-tempo groove contrasting notably with the elegiac, practically lyrical lead guitar and steady rhythm guitar jangle. There are some instrumental breaks in Lord Nelson’s songs, the band should pride themselves on their instrumental talents, but those moments are never gratuitous. The second set of brothers in the band, Hank and Calloway Jones, factor in mightily to the song’s success thanks Calloway’s extraordinary lead guitar contributions to the song. Through the Night’s first single “Tail Lights” is a great choice for that spot thanks to the vocal performance from Kai Crowe-Getty and has the same rousing punch for the song’s chorus we hear on the album’s opener. This number is a little less reliant on individual performances than the first song, but it’s every bit as satisfying. “Black Hills” opens with some streamlined, melodic guitar and a rhythm section latching onto a stutter-step groove. It’s a song generating considerable tension from its bluesy gravitas and the promise it seemingly holds to streak skyward at any moment.

“Call Me” comes off, from the first, as airy guitar pop with a sensitive edge. Crowe-Getty’s singing has the right mix of sweetness and rootsy bite with another memorable chorus topping everything off quite nicely. Bass player Andrew Hollifield’s bass playing lays down a fat groove and the pocket drumming from Johnny Stubblefield anchors things even deeper. Hank Jones’ horn playing proves that his multi-instrumentalist talents are the wild card in Lord Nelson’s hand and gives them capabilities few artists can match. Hank Jones wears yet another hat with the song with his delectable R&B vocals on the later track “Safety Meeting”. He has a level of sensitivity in his singing every bit as strong, albeit very different, from his band mate Crowe-Getty. The atmospheric, wah-wah tinged near funk of the album’s penultimate tune, “When the Lights Come Down”, never sounds like a song straining for effect and, instead, manifests the attitude it’s so clearly aiming for. The finale “Running on Back” is the hearty, energetic finish you hope for and doesn’t come off as some premeditated curtain lacking the same organic flush setting the earlier material apart from the pack. Lord Nelson’s Through the Night will definitely freshen the band’s live set up, but these songs definitely stand on their own as substantive studio creations. It’s a powerful second effort.

Mindy McCall