What is the perfect driving music? You can probably rattle off a ton of names—my list, past and present, would include: Sing Along With The Acid House Kings by Acid House Kings, Up Against The Legends by The Legends, and Friend And Foe by Menomena. Surely we can all name great music to drive to, but what about bad music to drive to? This is a bit more difficult.
Personally, I would lump anything that could make me fall asleep at the wheel into this category. Classical music (selective “classical rock” tracks, falling into the experimental, prog-rock and post-rock subgenres, by artists like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra may fall into this category) is an obvious one. But so should some bedroom pop artists. Bunkbed and A Weather are likely candidates. Included in this list may be Vespers, the latest by Portland’s whispering duo Nire.
Hear me out: Vespers is a great album. I could easily listen to this at work or at home and really enjoy it (case in point: I have done so many times already). If I were to make a list of great bathtub, back massage, background, berry-picking, and bedroom music, Nire would probably hit each compilation with stride. Such is the strife of bedroom pop.
The volume may be soft, but this is no soft release. While similar artists (A Weather, Carissa’s Wierd) orchestrated their quiet sound with various bowed string instruments, Nire keeps it minimal with melodically played keyboards and acoustic guitars. Their vocals remain at a calming whisper, never quite breaking into the “talking” volume range.
Despite just hitting double digits in the track list, Vespers comes in at just under 30 minutes in length. Two songs, “Prelude” and “Interlude”, hover around the 45 second range, and preludes and interludes should, while the rest near 3 to 4 minutes. “The March” is especially catchy, as are “The Light is Blinding” and “Mary”.
Lo-fi whispered bedroom pop is an interesting sub-genre in independent music dominated by artists like Bunkbed and Carissa’s Wierd, groups that have been off the grid for years. Yet Sub Pop Seattle artist Tiny Vipers (who I recently caught at Bumbershoot) and Portland Team Love artist A Weather are bringing it back throughout the Northwest. With Vespers, you can add Nire to the growing list of notable current bedroom pop bands.
This review was originally published September 17, 2007 on the old version of FensePost.
Abandoned Love Records [CD, 2008]
2. The Light Is Blinding
4. Girl In The Moon
5. White Owl
7. All This Time
8. The March
9. Wide-Eyed, Restless
10. Song For Cole