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Good Night & Good Morning

Narrowing Type

(Own Records; US: 25 Apr 2012; UK: 25 Apr 2012)

Narrowing Type is a small masterpiece.

It’s both a rare and glorious moment when a music listener discovers a new band that leaves them absolutely floored. It’s going to be very hard to imagine that this won’t be the case for anyone who comes across a copy of Good Night & Good Morning’s Narrowing Type. This is an incredibly young band, but their grasp on structure, history, and songwriting suggests a band several albums in and several years older. Narrowing Type, to put it quite simply, is a masterpiece. There’s various styles and bands that Good Night & Good Morning recall all over this album, but they’re all swirled together into a unique and overpowering whole. One minute the most prominent influence is Low, the next it’s Stars of the Lid, the next it’s Explosions in the Sky. Importantly, it’s only the best parts of those bands that are touched upon and Good Night & Good Morning matches their bests toe-for-toe throughout the entirety of Narrowing Type‘s seven-track 42-minute run-time.


There’s a certain level of tension that the band maintains throughout the swirling ambiance of Narrowing Type—and it’s powerful enough to leave one breathless for its duration. It beings with “Jill”, a track that slowly pulls the listener in until they’re entirely engulfed by the slow current of volume swells. The track comes off as both cinematic and organic, which can be a difficult combination to pull off, but Good Night & Good Morning somehow navigate effortlessly, not only for that track but for the entirety of Narrowing Type. “Philadelphia” emerges out of the ashes of “Jill” and floats along, complemented by soft, dream-like vocals and punctuated by effectively sparse drums. There’s not a moment that isn’t completely gripping, and its peculiar ebb and flow only gets more engaging as it unravels. Startlingly, the lyrics and vocal melody are up to par of the serene excellence of virtually everything else the band does here. When the orchestral flourish kicks in, it only elevates the song further before it slowly disappears in a beautiful ambient wash of feedback and drones.


“Key Studies” continues on in the same vein as “Philadelphia”, creating and then unraveling tension as it progresses into a quiet stunner. The vocals are a bit more prominent here, and Good Night & Good Morning layer them for an added ambient effect that only capitalizes on their sound even more and pulls the listener in further. There’s a certain level of restraint utilized by musicians of this genre—one that’s worthy of admiration. Sometimes musical patience this practiced can be near impossible to come by, but with the right people, that dedication and commitment to creating something so glacially slow and beautiful can pay off in epic proportions, as it does here and on every other song on Narrowing Type.


The pairing of “Median I” and “Median II” marks the towering centerpiece of Narrowing Type, where the band lays seemingly everything they’ve got into two songs. “Median I” being a feedback-and-drone exercise build-up into “Median II” while still standing on its own as a powerful example of what bands can achieve utilizing those two things (feedback and drones). It’s as beautiful as it is terrifying. “Median II” is a slowly unfurling epic that continuously layers itself until it hits its earth-shattering climax worthy of the most stunning peaks Explosions in the Sky have to offer. When that moment hits, it’s unbelievably powerful, but even more powerful is the moment when it cuts out back to the quiet instruments that started the track. It’s a jarring and wonderful moment that will leave a lot of people breathless and hanging on to the song with everything they’ve got.


After that, it’d be easy for the record to lose itself in its last two tracks, but Good Night & Good Morning, and this record, are too good to let that happen. “Japanese Thread” returns the band to Earth and continues to grip with its haze of gorgeous ambience. And Narrowing Type closes with its longest track, “Abroad and Neutral”, where nearly everything culminates into one spectacular entity, drifting along until it evolves into the same kind of beautiful/terrifying hazy feedback that permeates much of this record. It’s as stunning and spectacular as everything else, and when it finishes out, things may start coming back to whoever was lucky enough to have just had listened to it. (Things like time, space, and existence.) Narrowing Type is out in the world—now all that’s left is waiting for the world to catch up.

Rating:

Steven is a writer, musician, and filmmaker from Wisconsin who has spent his fair share of time in the entertainment trenches. He frequently contributes reviews and interviews to Playground Misnomer, which can be accessed here: http://www.playgroundmisnomer.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @unbusyinwi.


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