Nire
"Vespers"

(Abandoned Love Records 2007)Nire - Vespers

With the explosion of technology these days, it is not anything new for a band to record in their bedroom, their garage or their basement. But one listen to Nire's "Vespers" evokes wild -- not to mention completely fictitious -- images of recording in a hushed tone while hidden in a closet. With reflective lo-fi melodies and constantly whispered duets, Portland-based duo Nire's debut full-length album, "Vespers," is lonely and remote. Made up of Erin Morgan and Josh Hinton, Nire formed when the two met in Philadelphia and quickly developed a friendship and songwriting relationship. Two years after the release of their "We All Shine On" EP, Nire offer up their full-length.

Only once do Nire really develop an edge. For "Mary," the otherwise gently strummed guitar is played less loosely while the vocals deliver their message with a clear and slightly uncomfortable insistence. Brief piano-led instrumentals "Prelude" and "Interlude" offer a few quiet moments of clarity. On the remainder of the album, the band is careful not to overexcite themselves even when hinting at an inner enthusiasm on "The Light Is Blinding" or offering a twinkling dreaminess with "Girl in the Moon."

While Nire's melodies are light, they are cast in a constant shadow that keeps them from developing into something delicate and dainty. Matched with Morgan and Hinton's hushed vocals, "Vespers" comes across as though it is sharing a secret or even a conspiracy. But with little deviation from their original structure, Nire's songs flow together too freely. "Vespers" delivers a tone that feels probably more forlorn than is intended.

B-

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