Beauty In The Dark
Friday, May 31
“When the sun starts setting in the golden haze, all I can think of is you. When the lights go out and the darkness shades, all I can think of is you.”\
Long distance love can you make you do the most daring things. In 2016, on the cusp of recording their first full-length album, LA-based pop band Nightjacket’s singer Holland Belle told her bandmates that she was moving to Berlin to chase the love of her life. The band took it in stride. For a group whose music was largely inspired by the trials of relationships, it seemed almost appropriate that their lead singer would follow her heart 6,000 miles away. “I met with (guitarist/co-founder) Jordan (Wiggins) and told him that I had to give Berlin a shot, but I didn’t want to lose the band,” says Belle. “I was afraid he’d be done with it but he was so supportive. I had even more faith in the project after that moment.”
A year of zigzagging between continents - between music and love - helped bring about the songs that would eventually become Nightjacket’s debut full-length album, Beauty In The Dark. Tracked in separate blocks of five songs each in four different studios, the writing and recording of the album was a significant test for the band, but made all the stronger for it. Produced with Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yea, Yo La Tengo) and mixed by James Krausse (Beyonce), the album features guest drummers Kyle Crane (Crane Like The Bird, Kurt Vile, Neko Case) and Kiel Feher alongside Nightjacket multi-instrumentalist Louie Schultz. Beauty In The Dark introduces new analog synth textures and smoky, Nico-like vocals to the Nightjacket sound. From the sultry shoegaze of the album’s opener “I Can’t Believe” and swirling atmospherics of “You’re Trying Too Hard” to clear single standouts in the romantic “Pink and Yellow Roses” and “Waking Up With You,” Beauty In The Dark is a contemplative body of work that analyzes both the perils of love as well as the overwhelming power it has over all of us. “I think all of us have experienced the ups and downs of relationships - and this album certainly paints a picture of that arc - but I hope it ultimately gives comfort to listeners who might be going through some of the same things. If it does, then we’ve done our job,” says Wiggins.
The story of Nightjacket begins at a backyard party in Los Angeles where Holland Belle, a classically-trained opera singer, and musician Jordan Wiggins met for the first time. While watching Belle perform a number of folk songs solo on an electric guitar, Wiggins found himself impressed and inspired. “Her voice was beautiful, powerful and kind of dark; I told her she reminded me of Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star,” he recalls. “It was interesting timing because her style was in line with the sound of material I was already working on; these dark and dreamy pop songs. As I continued to develop new songs I think I had her voice in mind, consciously or not.” Wiggins sent some demos to Belle, sparking a collaboration and collection of songs that have come to define the sound and direction of the band.
In 2015, the band would release Eternal Phase, a six-song collection that evoked the nocturnal imagery of the later hours of the band’s hometown through hypnotic and airy compositions firmly rooted in pop tradition. The EP would go on to receive acclaim locally and nationally by the likes of SPIN, Consequence of Sound, FLAUNT, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly and more. The band has also played shows with like-minded acts such as The Mary Onettes, Phoebe Bridgers and Miya Folick, as well as supporting The Besnard Lakes on a recent west coast tour of the U.S.
With the release of Beauty In The Dark, Nightjacket is once again united in Los Angeles, and poised to bring new fans into the fold via insistent pop songs that remain true to their sound, while taking listeners both old and new on a journey through their lives since Eternal Phase.
If you’re wondering about the fate of Belle’s relationship, she has only this to say:
“Love’s a journey - and sometimes it doesn’t give you what you want. It was a whirlwind year, but I wouldn’t take back any of it. If there’s anything you should fight for, it’s love. And in the end, heartbreak made all of us stronger, and created some beautiful fucking music. ”