Thursday 19 September 2019

Pelican - Nighttime Stories

Labels: Southern Lord Recordings/Brutal Panda Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 07 Jun 2019


1. WST
2. Midnight And Mescaline
3. Abyssal Plain
4. Cold Hope
5. It Stared At Me
6. Nighttime Stories
7. Arteries Of Blacktop
8. Full Moon, Black Winter

The other night I mentioned the number of incredible records that were released recently and how I was way behind in appreciating them all. I'm slowly catching up on them and latest album from Chicago, Illinois post-metal/instrumental band Pelican was one that I was eager to hear. It was released in June on vinyl, cd and digital via Southern Lord Recordings, along with a tape version via Brutal Panda Records that saw the light of day about a month later. I probably can't say anything that hasn't already been said about Pelican and their music, but this is all about enjoyment of music and its creators.

Elegant soundscapes and subtle textures are exactly what’s needed this evening, as the barmy late summer sun recedes and “Nighttime Stories” promises that. Opener WST provides a glimpse into a mellower side of Pelican, though it’s only a mere intro of sorts. Midnight And Mescaline is a very different beast with upbeat tempos and driving instrumentation. The quartet has matured well beyond the point of a band still finding own way and it shows here.

It’s actually amazing how upbeat this record is considering the heavy sludgy beginnings of the band well over a decade ago. Abyssal Plain is another example of this, albeit one that does call on passages of off-kilter instrumental black metal-like guitars and blasts at times. It convinces you that vocals are not needed. Cold Hope is by far the heaviest song on “Nighttime Stories” so far as it takes things in a more dissonant and doomier direction.

The second half of the album is ushered in by another calming piece in the form of It Stared At Me. It tempers back Pelican’s more full-on side but it still gives you plenty of time to appreciate their musicality at the same time. Time is short but when it’s spent listening to this, it’s very previous indeed. Just when you’re at your serenest though, the title-track shatters that feeling with a bass-heavy smash to the face. There’s still plenty of melody here but it’s the rumbling noise that takes true hold of your senses. The volume seems like it’s been turned straight up beyond maximum and it gets the heart beating as a result.

There’s a slight reduction in the heaviness as Pelican wind their way to the end of “Nighttime Stories” but that does nothing to stop their momentum and penultimate song Arteries Of Blacktop is still a driving effort for sure. Closing song Full Moon, Black Water is most definitely a positive and life-affirming way to end. It gathers everything that is great about Pelican’s music and shoehorns it into the perfect summary to conclude the album. There are no histrionics or pretence, just honest musicians making honest music. A fantastic contender for album-of-the-year.

You can stream "Nighttime Stories" and purchase on vinyl, on cd and digitally below:-

Tape copies can be purchased via Brutal Panda Records here -

Southern Lord Recordings -

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