Taking up the mantle of his wonderful debut ‘Gemini’, Virginia-born Jack Tatum’s second LP continues along its predecessor’s gauzy trajectory. All reverb-ridden, dreampop haziness and washed-out vocals, it’s an album that favours evolution over revolution. This is fine. The title track whips up more than a whiff of the Fleetwood Macs with its dappled guitar lines and coos of “Ooh, you can have me”, and the likes of opener ‘Shadow’ or ‘This Chain Won’t Break’ tread the shimmering, ’80s-inflected path beloved of Twin Shadow and the like. Together they conspire to concoct something warmly familiar and, in its own way, progressive.
The problem is it’s almost impossible to completely consider a record as an isolated thing, and while ‘Nocturne’ is undoubtedly a pleasurable listen, it’s merely one of a number of pleasurable listens that sound exactly like it. Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, Ariel Pink: all doing it. So two-and-a-half years after Wild Nothing’s debut, the stuff that sounded fresh before has now been used and abused on so many albums in between it now leaves little new to offer. This means it takes that bit longer for it to develop a real personality of its own.
‘Only Heather’ and ‘Disappear Always’ are the kind of tracks you’d want playing in the background of the ‘young romance’ section of your life biopic, but they also both sound like an amalgamation of half of the Captured Tracks back catalogue. So while ‘Nocturne’ is gorgeous, it’s a little too predictable to become truly exciting.