LA-based alternative band Nightjacket is stirring their sound up for a new EP, with the addition of a new frontwoman. On the same day that they released Beauty In The Dark, their then singer left the group, thrusting the band into a frenzy to find a replacement. Vocalist Andrea Wasse was the missing piece they found to reconstitute their lineup. Their new single “Lonely Archer” serves to introduce her talents and insertion into the group.
“Lonely Archer” is off of the forthcoming EP Following The Curves, out September 25 (pre-order/save) and is a significantly different song than before Wasse joined. The song was reformed and elevated to new heights when Wasse got her hands on it.
“The original demo we sent to Andrea for ‘Lonely Archer’ was similar to the final recording musically and in terms of mood, but you wouldn’t recognize it now, melodically or lyrically,” guitarist Jordan Wiggins told American Songwriter. “In fact, it had a different title and completely different lyrics. Andrea took it to another level. She wrote the lyrics and melody and brought them in the first time we all met with her at Louie Schultz’s (multi-instrumentalist) studio in Eagle Rock. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, to be meeting with a band for the first time and then to deliver these really heartfelt emotions the way she did. We were blown away.”
Wasse wrote the new lyrics to the song while reflecting on relationships, a topic she admitted to frequently writing about.
“As a writer, I tend to write about relationships. When we were writing this song, I was really looking at the differences between dating as a teenager and dating as an adult,” Wasse told American Songwriter. “I was thinking about – and laughing at – how in my youth I would always passionately throw myself into relationships that were absolutely riddled with red flags. But as an adult, wounded and made worldly because of these experiences, I was jaded, a little too guarded, set in my ways and lonely. And I knew I wasn’t alone in that. So basically, this song is a plea to my fellow ‘lonely archers’ to just take a shot, take a chance, as I myself was trying to let my guard down and do the same.”
The song recalls the vocal styles of singers like Mazzy Star and stands on textures of dreamy-sedative alt-pop. The merging of acoustic and electric guitars that sing out with intended feedback dirty the otherwise delicate song, just enough.
After Wasse re-wrote the lyrics and recorded her Mazzy Star-like vocal parts, the band laid the remaining tracks around her. A choice the band made so that Wasse’s voice could shine without constraints.
“We built the song around the vocals that Andrea recorded that day. It isn’t the traditional way to record a song, but I think the song really benefited from that approach,” Wiggins explained. “We did our best to allow space for Andrea’s vocal and to augment the feeling the lyrics evoked. Louie laid down these really dreamy and hypnotic analog synth parts in addition to bass guitar and bass clarinet, which comes in right before the last chorus. I re-recorded the 12-string acoustic guitar part and kept the electric guitar from the original demo, and James DeDakis played drums. It may be the sparsest recording we’ve ever done but, in a way, it feels bigger because of it.”
“Lonely Archer” is just a pixel of the portrait to come from Nightjacket’s marriage with Wasse. And more will be revealed with the release of Following The Curves in September, a project Nightjacket hopes their listeners will flock to.
“I hope listeners get lost in the music, in the best way,” Wiggins said. “I love that transformative power of music, where it can take you to a different place or a different time, or just take you out of the moment that you’re in. I think that’s the case with a lot of the new music that we’re working on with Andrea – it has a sense of place and space, which I think listeners gravitate towards, even if it isn’t on a conscious level.”