Communication between people involved in a project, any project, will always be the backbone for any level of success or one of the main agents of failure. You need a certain level of understanding between team members to ensure you are both looking eye to eye or at least, have the same goal.
This is specially true for bands. Ever heard of “creative differences”? Communication plays part on this.
Why this intro? Well, because Eric & Magill is a band that creates lovely music with the biggest of barriers for communication: physical distance. One member in Brooklyn, dealing with cronut-hungry commuters and another one in Kenya, working with Peace Corps to create a good water infrastructure.
Two worlds, two different surroundings that influence and map the feelings and perception of two artists. From the extremely chilled out All those I know (interview), through the magical reinterpretations of Kick the Covers Vol. 1 (review) to the bittersweet melodies of Two Travelers (review), Eric Osterman and Ryan Weber have managed to work together and now they’ve created another dreamy album called Night Singers.
It’s a very warm record, this lovely thing call ed Night Singers. A field recording of some children chanting is faintly heard in the distance before the dream pop wearing ‘What I say’ starts. Guitars drive while electronic beats cascade downwards, like a refreshing drizzle in a hot day. ‘Baggage Clothes’ clearly believes in not fixing what isn’t broken and follows sweet.
And then it goes quiet. Eric & Magill know how to do their introspective songs quite well (see ‘Pontoon Boats’ from their first album) and ‘Calendar’ does so here. The heart-wrenching track hits home so hard. There’s so many feelings one can get from this song and what I got was a mixture of nostalgia and hope, intertwined in a ball of confusion. Such is the way of emotions. ‘Épingles et Aiguilles’ is quite gorgeous, but much more busy, with its Baroque Pop stylings. Quite another gorgeous ditty.
‘Psycho’ is the “rock it out, brothers and sisters!” moment of the album. A very peppy track, mixing dance elements with a steady 80s pace. I’d hate to compare it to Decibully, a band that is in the past of Eric & Magill, but for a moment, just a quick moment, Decibully popped around for a cold beer and nachos.
‘We’re the ghosts’ and ‘All your dreams’ I see them as coupled songs. ‘We’re the ghosts’ has this otherworldly feel to it, like the strange thoughts and senses you get just before going to sleep. ‘All your dreams’ feels like the moment you just went into deep sleep and a million strange colours and images flash. You’ll fly from mountains, dive into deep seas, see old friends and maybe fly in space, all in less than 4 minutes.
‘Peaks and Valleys’, the last acoustic intermezzo in this collection, an honest lullaby, ethereal in form, spiritual in content. It’s a shy one, completely contrasted with the carefree, outgoing ‘Love found’, a song that finds the band at its happiest.
‘Night singers’ has a heavy responsibility. After all, the album shares this name. In a way, it makes sense, as all the musical styles and all the emotional ranges are here together; happiness, sorrow, flippancy and solemnity, holding hands and singing in a choral form. Quite fitting that the song fades slowly to let a chorus of people, perhaps the same one from ‘What I say’, bookending this collection.
There’s not much left to say about Eric & Magill‘s Night Singers, other than the variety of colours you perceive in the sleeve is just but a tiny teaser of the gamut of vibrant colours awaiting for you inside.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López