It’s been just over three years since Toronto’s Red Nightfall’s last release, a short follow-up to their self-titled debut album. Finally back with Anna, don’t disappear, an album that “at points felt like it would never come out,” the band has put considerable effort into growing their sound.
On their latest, the trio are joined by a number of friends on an array of instruments to build up their alt-indie rock sound—reaching operatic levels of build in a fitting match to the Shakespearean lyrics they’ve borrowed. Glockenspiels, mandolins and even a guzheng give the album a fascinating rock opera touch that elevates Addison Siemko’s vocals.
While still erring on the side of mellow indie rock, opener “Marian” works it way up to the chorus as the guitars and drums build, shedding some of Siemko’s tranquility for real passion as he sings, “let it consume us” and strives to make the words real.
There’s a poetic rhythm to “Fog Landscape” before a short “Interlude” launches into the hand-clapping “Ballad.” Meanwhile “Tuxedo M.” takes advantage of the band’s somber sound to add a gleeful touch to a haunting track.
It seems appropriate that “St. Petersburg” has an old feel to it as the instrumentals, and especially the strings, evoke a long lost dance before “Troika” offers up a more lively spin for those who’d prefer a modern step and shimmy.
“Shaker/Heavily” buries its vulnerabilities under layers of vocals and sound in a Hamlet-esque mess of confusion before transitioning suddenly into a beautiful and stunning set of final minutes. “Navi,” the penultimate track, captures some of that joy, rising beatifically out of album’s angst with a blossoming string section.
Red Nightfall’s long wait for the release of their second EP has been rewarded with an album made better by poetry and time—dark and yet showing a willingness to, like “Shaker/Heavily,” emerge from the darkness and discover the brave new world Miranda found.
Top Track: “Navi”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)