Pelican Southern Lord
Released: 7th June 2019
Pelican, the instrumental quartet whose singular vision of heavy music eschews classification, have
announced their first full length in six years, Nighttime Stories, is due June 7th via Southern Lord
The eight-song set marks the band’s first release written front to back with guitarist Dallas Thomas, who took
over guitar duties upon founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec’s departure in 2012. In the process of
writing the album the quartet endured a slew of realisations, tragedies, and glimmers of optimism that guided
the creative process to the most potent work of their nineteen-year career.
Though the new material veers towards the darker tone characteristic of Pelican’s early songwriting, it’s hard
to imagine a previous incarnation of the band writing songs as meticulously crafted and detail-oriented as
those within Nighttime Stories, where the compositions recall everything from the triumphant call-to-arms of
classic Dischord, to the vicious troglodyte battery of the Melvins, to the dynamic interwoven melodies of
bottom-heavy indie cult heroes Chavez.
Nighttime Stories was an album title initially proposed for Tusk, the hallucinatory art-grind band that included
Pelican members Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Larry Herweg, and Schroeder-Lebec, in addition to vocalist Jody
Minnoch. The writing of Nighttime Stories was instigated shortly after Minnoch’s unexpected death in 2014,
and some of the dissonant viscera and dark psychedelic structures that were characteristic of Tusk’s sound
began to unconsciously inform the album’s direction. In homage to their departed colleague, Pelican applied
the previously discarded title and pulled many of the song titles from notes Minnoch had sent to inspire the
direction of the unrealized album. As the writing of Nighttime Stories progressed Thomas also experienced a
heavy loss with the passing of his father, to whom the album pays tribute on opening track “W.S.T.” (on
which Dallas performed his guitar parts on his father’s Yamaha acoustic).
Pelican have always excelled at vacillating between the savage sounds of various niches of metal
underground and the more delicate and nuanced sounds of Midwest’s cerebral indie community, proving that
they can make either end of the spectrum more vibrant and compelling through the art of contrast. With
Nighttime Stories, the pendulum has swung back to the angst and ire of their younger years while delivering
it with the nuance and wisdom that’s come with nearly two decades of writing and performing.