As our planet roasts, our political system rots, and our polarized reality makes a mockery of human collaboration, apocalyptic thoughts abound. Coping feels difficult, even impossible. How does one come to terms with the end times, anyway?
Greensboro-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sam Logan tiptoes up to the edge of extinction and grins into the abyss on Night Blooms in the Apocalypse, his debut release as Nightblooms. The EP’s four easygoing tracks swirl together into an intoxicating blend of synth grooves, indie-rock jangle, and soaring folk-pop—a far cry from Logan’s 2000s-’10s garage-punk oeuvre but appropriate given the upheaval of the 2020s.
“Matters of Time,” for instance, was hatched during a pandemic panic attack punctuated by night sweats and body aches. Keys, lap steel, and syrupy backing vocals from Chessa Rich keep things light, even as the lyrics echo the depths of COVID-19 despair (“Catching my breath as I cling to my bed / Is this nightmare coming true?”)
Describing the album, out September 1 on Sleepy Cat Records, Logan distilled that dichotomy to a formula: “A tablespoon of honey to go with the vinegar.”
That combo comes to haunting life on “Anthropocene,” an urgent evocation of our era’s ecological abuse. Built atop a rumbling folk riff, EP engineer and mixer Saman Khoujinian adds sonic slide guitar flourishes. “Hymns for the Hopeless” aims even higher, tugging at the heartstrings over an elegant wall of pop sound featuring drum machine, Wurlitzer, and piano.
Nightblooms dazzles even more on the kaleidoscopic EP closer “Slow Decline.” Skittering and candy-bright on first pass, its bleak lyrics sharpen with repeat listens: “Brace yourself, it’s extinction season / Abandon hope, sanity, and reason / Another planet is waiting for our plastic / The economic opportunity is priceless and tragic.”
That might sound like some unbearably dark shit, but hard times call for honest art. Logan has done us a favor by examining our sad state of affairs with precision. Best of all, Night Blooms in the Apocalypse is just part one of a planned three-part trilogy. Next up in 2024? Love Songs for the Apocalypse and Free Time in the Apocalypse. Lord knows we’ll need every step to survive.
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