Nite Jewel – No Sun
Nite Jewel, AKA American musician and producer Ramona Gonzalez, is back with a new album, No Sun, four years after her last effort, Real High. A lot has changed personally for her in that time, following the end of her 12-year marriage to fellow indie darling Cole MGN, in 2018. She’s also started a PhD in musicology at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music – where she also teaches.
Fans will be pleasantly surprised, though, that her latest album isn’t too much of a departure from the lo-fi, electronic laidback “chill-wave” sound she pioneered and has made her calling card. That’s a good thing: if something works, why ditch it, rather than build on it and adapt? There is, however, a greater vulnerability to the vocals on tracks like opener Anymore and the following Before I Go. It’s a theme that continues throughout on a record that is more ruminative, more halting than Real High, and with less funk to it. As such, it’s definitely one for the morning after the night before, rather than something one would hear at a trendy nightclub.
That means there are fewer out-and-out catchy indie pop tunes, with one exception – the more upbeat but angry To Feel It – and it is instead more deliberative than what fans have heard from her before. That’s true of No Escape, which slowly whomps along before hitting its stride with a rousing chorus, and lead single This Time – undoubtedly the standout out track. Here, synths bubble away over lyrics that reference heartbreak and wanting to turn around a failing relationship that seem clearly drawn from personal experience, concluding with a wailing guitar-like climax that resembles a cry of pain.
Closer There Is No Sun is even more morose in its lyrical content, referring to an “eternal sea of darkness when there is no sun”, words repeated over isolated synths infused with jazzy sensibilities in its drum beat and a howling synthesised saxophone centrepiece to the song.
All this could make No Sun a depressing listen, but Gonzalez’s skill in putting together a minimalist floaty electronic soundscape means its dark personal themes are introspective rather than solipsistic. At just eight songs long too, it’s not a record that out stays its welcome, providing just enough of a window into its creator’s soul without making us feel trapped there.
No Sun is released on 27th August 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Nite Jewel’s website here.
Watch the video for the single This Time here: