REVIEW: Pete Yorn – Nightcrawler (2006)

peteyorn.jpgNightcrawler draws to a close Pete Yorn’s trilogy of albums which cover the passage of time through a day. Starting with his 2001 debut album ‘musicforthemorningafter’, and continued on the 2003 release, ‘Day I Forgot’, the third album ‘Nightcrawler‘ not only marks the rising of the metaphorical moon, it also marks the climatic conclusion to this series. And Pete Yorn sure knows how to raise the bar.

There are many reasons why this is such a great album. Leaving aside the obvious high points such as the meaningful lyrics and great selection of tracks, this album offers much more to intrigue than what appears at its surface. Pete Yorn is wondrously difficult to define, with his extraordinary songwriting abilities and the amazing diversity of his musical stylings. At times he sounds all rock, sometimes pop, other times folksy, and more commonly some strange conglomeration of styles like folksy rock or pop with a rock edge. While it sounds like these combinations may overshadow the lyrics and vocals resulting in a confused mess, this could not be further from the truth. This album really works; it’s silky smooth from start to finish.

The album opens with ‘Vampyre’, a hauntingly beautiful song which conjures up a dark atmosphere with its dripping lyrics and slippery guitar work. All this with just the hint of a rock edge, which has Pete rasping his voice with the best of them. Another standout is the melodious ‘The Man’ which has an almost dreamy Beatlesque sound, with Pete’s soulful tones pairing beautifully with those of Natalie Maines (of Dixie Chicks fame).

‘We are young
We are almost there
And the man keeps coming round’

The mournful ‘Ice Age’ relies on Pete’s voice as a key instrument, and with the simplest of musical accompaniment it creates a raw vulnerable atmosphere. The poetic lyrics are performed with perfect restraint, with Pete’s voice building from a whisper as the song moves towards its uplifting chorus. Running to almost an hour, the album closes with ‘Bandstand in the Sky’. With great country twang and strong lyrics, it merges in elements of both rock and folk, once again demonstrating Pete Yorn’s ability to create new musical genres.

Throw your arms around my neck
And hold me tightly
There’s a lot that we will get

This album will leave you wanting more and wishing that the night never had to draw to a close.