Nightlands: Oak Island
The son of a genetic engineer, Dave Hartley has eschewed his father's profession but decidedly inherited his analytical proclivities and love of "the lab." As Nightlands, Hartley is a scientist trying to create and understand art through analytical process. Here, with sophomore album Oak Island, his follow up to 2010's superb Forget the Mantra, new questions are explored: what happens when the human voice is layered exponentially? Nightlands takes us on a spirit quest through lush forests down into The Uncanny Valley. Each distorted, silver-voiced melody is wrapped in the sounds of 70s AM gold — plucked acoustic guitars, trumpets, dulcimers and hand percussion. Hartley is a prolific sideman in many notable Philadelphia bands and the extraordinary bassist of The War on Drugs. Listeners expecting a simple side project, however, will be surprised by the boldness and scope of his vision--Nightlands is the Chuck Close painting to the The War on Drugs' De Kooning.