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Album Review
24 Hours of Night

24 Hours of Night
by Nightchoir

Elevenfiftyseven Records

Review Date
10th May 2010
Reviewed by
Gareth Meade

Things move along pretty comfortably on 24 Hours of Night, the debut album from Auckland’s Nightchoir. As the band is comprised of the rhythm section from Pluto, it’s easy to understand why that might be, given that group’s decade long life-span. It’s also a useful jumping off point for pinning down the general aesthetic of Nightchoir, who from a compositional standpoint at least, sound not dissimilar to their previous outfit.

But it’d be lazy to claim that as a sole association, because despite superficial tendencies towards Pluto’s sound, Nightchoir have chosen to base their music in alternative country territory, more often than not recalling Wilco’s post A Ghost is Born output. There are attempts at contemporary flourishes here, but just as Wilco have indulged their “dad rock” tendencies of late, so too does 24 Hours of Night sound like the work of musicians happy to appeal to a wider generation of music fans.

And they’re good at it too, rarely getting carried away with how much flourish they add to any given song. Such as ‘Waterfall Home’ that introduces a futuristic-by-way-of-the-1980’s synthesizer which, even as jarring as that sounds, doesn’t clash horribly with the track’s acoustic guitar shuffle. Similarly, the guitar solo in the title track never overwhelms proceedings, but dutifully bridges the gap between the songs build up and its climax.

Of course, when a band doesn’t get too carried away it’s easy for the listener to not get too carried away either. ‘Stranded’ does its best to liven up proceedings and ends up doing the job well. It’s also the closest to a Pluto track you’ll find on the album. Otherwise the album sits at a fairly steady pace, sounding simultaneously sweet, gentle and welcoming but always shy of vital.

The slight hint of Neil Finn in Mike Hall’s vocal delivery on closing track ‘Go Back to Him’ makes for interesting repeat listens of 24 Hours of Night. You start to pick up hints of Finn’s work, both solo and with Split Enz and Crowded House throughout the album. Ultimately, it alludes to the fact that Nightchoir’s pastoral sound is familiarly homegrown, despite the aforementioned resemblances to Wilco. And that’s something that will no doubt endear them to local audiences.

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