This Cian Nugent article was written by Tim Thackray, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse. Photo by Cait Fahey
Some albums take on a new life depending on the time of day the needle falls on them. As the title alludes to, this is an album that sounds like it was recorded after closing time, and as a result is a record to soundtrack the silhouettes and after hour movements of the night time. The skittery and spindling guitar lines creep in and out from the cover of darkness, and you can’t help but picture a band who have locked themselves into a club, carrying on playing a long time after the lights went down.
Based in Dublin, Cian Nugent bills himself as a composer just as much as a singer/songwriter and the rich and complex guitar lines point to a man who is perhaps more comfortable at the back of the stage rather than in front of the microphone. He cites Takoma Records as an influence, the small folk label famed for its pressings of diverse and avant-garde acoustic recordings, and he manages to keep that sense of independent thinking on his own records.
Opening track ‘Lost Your Way’ throws the listener right in to Cian’s late night serenades, as he sings about “wandering from day to day” with no real purpose. While there are elements of classic rock riffs, his backing group, The Cosmos, also nod their heads to jazz and blues, adding to the laid back feel of the songs.
Much of Cian’s previous work has been instrumentals and he often manages to express just as much emotion when he isn’t singing as when he is. ‘Shadows’ comes to an extended and dramatic ending fitting for a gristly film noir detective story. While his finger work on ‘Lucy’ transports you to his Irish coastline, managing to be both uplifting and spooky at the same time. His matter-of-fact vocal delivery works well within the complex and absorbing backgrounds he creates, offering a directness to cut through the intriguing soundscapes.
Lead single ‘Things Don’t Change That Fast’ sums up his approach to music, measured, thoughtful and in no hurry to rush for anyone. As he sings about the sun fading on him, it’s a beautiful if downbeat number and is made all the more wholesome by Cian’s warm and reassuring vocals.
Final track ‘Year of the Snake’ showcases Nugent’s appetite to deceive. Beginning with a single, twisting and unravelling guitar line, the softly strummed chords are slowly joined by the rest of the band. A menacing drum beat morphs the song into a back-of-the-bar country rave with Cian yelping and shouting over the top. It’s a thrilling climax to a record that never settles for anything less than interesting.
‘Night Fiction’ is out now via Woodsist.