It isn't every day you hear a band that incorporates banjo into their songs that doesn’t play bluegrass. The third album release from Nightlite Mary entitled Three is a mix of rock/pop that doesn't merely dabble with the banjo but is often an integral part of the songs. The banjo is great but isn’t the only instrument that makes the music work. Daniel Lovell is in fact a multi-instrumentalist who plays the accordion, mandolin, guitar and also sings. On guitar, vocals, and drums is Paul Nolan while the bass is held down by Paul Luisi. For their live shows they recruit Noah Donch and Ben Lovell to handle some of the instrumental duties.
Three is a DIY effort as the band recorded, mixed and mastered the album themselves. I have to say it sounds above average but doesn’t quite sound as polished of a sound that you would hear coming from a reputable recording studio and mastering house. In particular, some of the mixes sounded narrow and the instrumentation could have been a bit more separated. The drums were sometimes buried as well. That being said these minor issues didn’t take much away from me enjoying the songwriting and chemistry the band has.
Three contains a number of good songs and inspired moments. It starts off with a highlight entitled “Hear Me Now,” which is arguably the most commercially viable and “single” worthy song of the batch. The instruments work well together here with the accordion and banjo at forefront. It’s one of the cleanest mixes on the album and displays the band in a good light.
The follow-up “Blister and Bleed” certainly is a solid song that fuses in sheets of distorted guitar. Don’t neglect listening to the bassist who doesn’t like to just stick to root notes. As the album progresses there were a number of notable songs including “Wrong,” “Shed” and “Promises.” These are three energy filled songs that utilize a wide array of instrumentation. The album does have a couple of missteps such as “Secrets Silent,” which is a straight up rock song that doesn’t have a vocal performance on par with some of the other material.
Three is a solid album with a mixed bag of songs. The band is at their best when they tap into the festive vibe of Mumford and Sons or even Rusted Root, which they occasionally display on Three.
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