Nightmare Air – Fade Out (Nevado Music)

LA based shoegaze/synth pop trio return with assured, widescreen-scale second album

Released Mar 2nd, 2018 via Nevado / By Richard Lewis
Nightmare Air – Fade Out (Nevado Music) Named after a move from a 1980s skateboarding flick (not bad experiences flying with cheap ‘C’mon what d’yer expect for this price?’ airlines) LA shoegaze/synth trio Nightmare Air return with dramatic second LP Fade Out. Combining gnarly guitar textures with the glossy propulsion of synth pop, the group’s stints supporting alt. rock titans Smashing Pumpkins and the Mary Chain seems to have informed their songwriting, as pretty much everything here is imbued with dramatic flourishes custom built to take on greater proportions live.

The plaintive voice of Swaan Miller is an unadorned focal point amidst the precision tooled material, the vocal hooks insidiously working their way into the memory on repeated listens. Lead single Who’s Your Lover proceeds at a fair clip, while the title track which starts off sounding for all the world like The Killers’ classic Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine introduces an oscillating synth line that recalls Simple Minds’ superlative early work.

The twinkling keyboard line that powers Obvious makes good use of the pitch bend dial found on vintage synth models, before switching to a angsty alt. rock chorus delivered by guitarist Dave Dupius. A standout choice for a possible follow-up single, the excellent Sign of the Times is the highpoint of Fade Out, as a shoegazing guitar figure similar to MBVs I Only Said and a heavily compressed bassline burst into a chorus which contains more concentrated pop elixir than the entire singles chart most weeks.

Reminiscent at times of Depeche Mode’s Violator/Songs of Faith and Devotion era electro-swagger and Curve's influential noise-pop, duet Sweet Arrows and Dark Vice build into tightly constructed juggernauts that showcase a knack for arena-ready sonics. Way We Fall meanwhile is effectively a ballad underscored by a pulsating schaffel beat Goldfrapp are fond of, that supplies an interesting stylistic diversion.

While their lyrics would benefit from some sharpening up and the repeated chorus of Sir Excellent wears thin, Fade Out largely succeeds in keeping things short and sharp, wrapping up in a brisk thirty-five minutes. Nightmare Air's ambitions to create sumptuous widescreen alt. rock for the present is highly laudable and on this evidence, blossoming in impressive fashion.