The Night Powers are vampire cowboys playing a burlesque set. Reading that statement, one might think, “What the actual fuck?” but hear me out. The Brooklyn-based quintet’s latest album, The Veil, is a supernatural extravaganza that fills up the dark corners of smokey bars and dusty trails alike. Metered and brooding rhythms support powerful haunting vocals, broken with the plunky strings of spaghetti western guitar. The odd combination of sounds meet perfectly after the sun sets, and these creatures of the night share their stories.
“Tonight We Fly” kicks the album off with a gothic western ballad of overwhelming and toxic passion. It’s Bonnie and Clyde riding away into the sunset riddled with bullet holes, moments from death but sure they’ll never die. They released a music video directly below:
Next we enter a twisted Moulin Rouge in “Dirty Widows.” It’s the soundtrack to a weird an elegant party — a black-tie freak show. It makes me think of old pop-punk music videos and their copious velvet in dimly lit rooms brought to life.
Natalie Devine and Rob Viola shine in a back and forth duet in “Like Lovers Do.” It’s a familiar tragedy of love driving its lovers to madness. Magical and mind-melting.
There are countless variations of “The Night Market” in folklore. Night Powers have created my favorite yet. The Market in the woods filled with kindhearted creatures is played out. I much prefer the ancient, creeping Market in the catacombs of crumbling cities. It’s packed to the brim with ghouls and reminds us that story books are far more grim that we remember.
“Marlowe” and “Again, in the Room” may say differently, but the set of tracks pulls the album back into a reality for me. The two are strange and wonderful burlesque-ish tracks.
“I Lost You” picks up the pace at the perfect moment. The urgent rhythm of the drums and guitar picking compel me to mount up on my pale horse and find some trouble. It’s out there if you look. The change of trails leads perfectly into “And the Moon,” a delicious tango that dances its way into the more traditional alt-rock “Canyon Boulevard.”
“We are the Photo” is the final mighty punch to “the Veil.” It has all the plunk and power of “Tonight We Fly,” but feels lightly enchanted. Its a spooky, booming music box of a finale.
Finishing the album, I can’t help but think of Lord Huron’s supernatural “Stranger Trails,” a whole album dedicated to telling eerie stories. “The Veil” is just that, but much darker. The crunch of the guitar and warble of the vocals feel like an older, wilder night than “Stranger Trails.” Lord Huron warned us that there were ghosts out there. Night Powers assured us that the darkness is filled with much worse.