ALBUM REVIEW: The Nightmares – Séance


Hailing from Newport, Wales, noir pop and alternative rock quartet The Nightmares reveal their bleak yet breezy souls with their debut album, Séance, via Venn and Equal Vision Records. The record’s themes of death were inspired by the COVID pandemic putting a hold on the band’s touring plans, leading to experiments with seances during the writing process. As one could imagine, the mental and spiritual outcomes of this paid a great contribution to the music’s morbid concepts and haunting execution. 


Eerie synths multiply the album’s cinematic atmosphere, creating moving textures with the guitars on songs like ‘It Follows’, ‘Murder Season’ and ‘For Heaven’s Sake’. This along with the chorus-doused riffs of tracks like ‘Heartless’ and ‘Evermore’ tie into their influence from the likes of The Cure, who they would fit right in with on a tour lineup. The latter even features a tasteful sax outro I did not expect, which is backed beautifully by the tenderhearted keys, syrupy chords, and upbeat drums.


‘Let The Light In’ throws a twinkling piano ballad into the mix, and although static in energy, is sure to stir some hearts with its subtle ambient soundscapes and serene vocal harmonies between lead vocalist and guitarist Adam Parslow and keyboardist Eleanor Coburn. ‘Cursed’ shares a similar tranquil mood, this time utilizing their contrasting vocal tones over mellow guitar lines. It is reminiscent of the easy-listening vibes of Turnover, though the downhearted lyrics remain clear as day.



The closing track ‘Everything Pretty Changing’ tells you exactly what to expect with its title alone. Its gleaming synth melody and laid-back drum beat feel calm at times, yet foreshadow something very different as the tone slowly grows more unhinged. By the final minute of the song, it’s evolved into a mishmash of spectral noises and effects. However, the slow beat carries on unperturbed, as if to say the band has grown numb to the increasing chaos around them, ending the album on a fatigued yet thought-provoking note. 


Though it is only their first album, Séance is proof of The Nightmares’ distinct ability to paint a picture through layered effects, melancholic arrangements, and knowing when to keep things simple and when to let loose. While they have already found their footing in the noir pop-rock style, it begs the question on how they can expand on it from here.


Buy the album here:


7 / 10