To immerse yourself in Nurses’ Apple’s Acre is to delight in a certain mental unraveling. These are songs where the vulnerability of pop with its heart on its sleeve engages in a double-dutch jumprope match with the euphoric surrender-to-the-weird that is essential to psychedelia. And Nurses is a band that scavenges beauty and wonder, uncovering Technicolor where others see somber hues. Their off-kilter psych-pop is driven by ever-swelling vocal harmonies, adventurous electronics, some serious wheelin’ and dealin’ on the Rhodes piano, and the kind of new-primitivist percussion that may or may not involve a standard drum kit.
An encyclopedic list of musical influences and sound-alikes won’t necessarily cozy up your brain to the Nurses experience. Their compositions revel in the unexpected, and it creates music that’s endlessly fascinating. Part of the allure is that the songs of Aaron Chapman and John Bowers–the cosmic troubadours and longtime best friends behind Nurses–are in a constant state of motion, as if they’re evolving while you listen. Perhaps it’s no surprise, since Chapman and Bowers themselves have spent the past five years in a state of transience, as friendly nomads who gave up the comforts of normalcy for the deeper satisfaction of total devotion to making music. If the two aren’t rambling in their own sonic imaginations, they’re not satisfied.
Luckily for Portland, Ore., they settled down there for a while and unpacked their exhilarating playfulness in the attic of a Victorian house. It was in their attic fort that they recorded much of Apple’s Acre. Now that the pair call Portland home, they have expanded to a trio and are joined by percussionist and visual artist James Mitchell.
Apple’s Acre is a record full of dysfunctional, hushed love, laced with elegance and grace and without angst and regret. But the plain courage of their songs is the secret ingredient that’s already turning heads and blowing minds all over the Northwest–and if you think about it, in pop music, courage is always at a premium.