Pelican play an instrumental post-rock/metal hybrid, and have been crafting affecting and enjoyable material for 18 years at this point. As their first new album in six years, I think it’s fair to say that Nighttime Stories has been greatly anticipated by fans of the band’s work.
Well, I’ll start by saying that this album is a very strong one. It’s also one that harks back to an earlier Pelican sound; Nighttime Stories is the heaviest and most immediate album that Pelican have released in quite some time. However, this isn’t simply a retreading of old ground, as all of the various tricks and skills that the band have learned in their existence have been put to good use here.
Yes, the songs on Nighttime Stories show a good mix of old and new Pelican, from the early riff-focused heaviness of their early years, to the more post-rock intricacies of their more recent material. These different aspects of Pelican’s sound have been artfully woven together on this album; in places one side tends to gain prominence over the other, but at other times there’s a good mix of both occurring concurrently.
The resulting music is infectious and affecting. On one hand we get songs that are filled with emotive beauty, nuanced introspection, and resplendent melodies, while on the other we get crushing riffs and waves of thick distortion. We sometimes even get both at the same time.
Well-written and carefully crafted, Nighttime Stories is a great way for Pelican to return to the world.