Cian Nugent, “Night Fiction”

Cian_Nugent-2016-Night_Fiction_coverCian Nugent
Night Fiction
WOODSIST
7/10

It goes without saying that, all narratives aside, music should be able to speak for itself. For those who happen to hear Cian Nugent’s Night Fiction, for instance, with no knowledge of his career to date, it shouldn’t be any problem to find something to be enamored with. The smooth, tactful guitar playing and the easygoing “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” vibes are more than enough to guarantee the album’s long-term tenure on record store turntables, where it will likely draw frequent, sheepish “Who’s this?” requests from customers for years to come. Imagine those customers’ intrigue, then, when they find out that Night Fiction has a story to go along with it.

As it turns out, Nugent, your favorite new artist, is not new at all. Prior to this release, he had already put out two well-received albums—2011’s Doubles and 2013’s Born with the Caul—except those were both instrumental folk guitar albums. For Night Fiction, Nugent has applied his vocals for the first time—and with them, also a shockingly adept set of pop sensibilities. “Lost Your Way” and “Things Don’t Change That Fast” in particular could have come from the same ditch as mid-’70s Neil Young. Coupled with his distinctive guitar tone, though, there’s no question that Nugent’s revamped style has a voice of its own. It certainly helps that cause, anyway, that he finally decided to start speaking.

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