Nightcap At Wits' End
- Brand: Garcia Peoples
- Product Code: GarciaPeoples–NightcapAtWitsEnd
Regular Edition In Black Vinyl
I listened to this album for the first time at the exact coordinates specified in the title: deep into the silent spring of 2020, at a midnight hour in New York lockdown, toasting the end of another day in stasis and anxiety. The first lyrics in “Gliding Through” seemed to be written on the spot, for that moment, coming out of the heavy-weather entrance – a circular, rolling thunder speared with serrated-harmony guitars – in a bracing vocal rush: “How you gonna see the light/When everything has gone awry?/Trust the dream that’s in your mind/I promise you we’ll be alright.” Garcia Peoples have been a magnetic north for me since I first saw the name a few years ago, loved the suspected pun in there (I’m old enough to remember the wisecracks on the Beatles’ Christmas fan club singles), then heard the psychedelic mission and improvising nerve on the records, the circulating gig tapes and finally in the first-person high of live performance. But in a season of fear and profound loss with no clear way ahead, Garcia Peoples rolled up that night with an uncanny medicine that shook me forward and keeps this album within reach, in a high rotation of assuring message and serial discovery. First impressions count a lot when you find a new, favorite record. But the ones that stick around don’t give you everything at once. Nightcap at Wits’ End has a lot of what I need right now – then brings something new every time I play it. It turns out there is a real-life Wit’s End, a tavern of the band’s acquaintance in rural New York, along the state line not far from Black Dirt Studios where Garcia Peoples made their 2018 album, Cosmic Cash, and the epic-title-track adventure, 2019’s One Step Behind. The duality here runs deep: almost 50 minutes of intricately arranged composition and kinetic guitar chorales christened in tribute to both a familiar place of refuge and that ragged state of mind beyond all common sense, when you keep on going even after you’ve run out of rope and road. The music itself is a double image: one album-length side of songs that advance the crisp momentum and tangled jangle of early-2019’s Natural Facts; and a second half that extends the medley action on Cosmic Cash with the long reach of One Step Behind in a suite of dynamic writing and bonded, instrumental charge, connected by live-to-tape jams – the band’s first time exercising that second-nature-on-stage in a studio.