Nurses return with Dracula, the follow-up to their 2009 homemade psych gem Apple’s Acre. Dracula is steeped in the strange pop brew that bore Apple’s Acre, with the band’s unmistakable elastic melodies, heady pop hooks and unconventional knack for catchy songwriting that gets under your skin. But where Apple’s Acre was an insular album, recorded primarily in an attic in Idaho using just an internal Macbook microphone and primitive recording software, Dracula is bursting. It’s bolder, heavier, with deep grooves, dubby basslines and a focus on rhythm. It’s an album with pure physical qualities. Apple’s Acre was an album made for headphones; Dracula needs a sound system. What has not changed is the undeniable constant in Nurses’ body of work: their immediate and catchy pop songs. The band embraces hooks and melodies–yes, they turn them upside down and inside out–but at their core, the band (and Dracula) are defined by pop songwriting.
Nurses retreated to the Oregon coast to record the album, spending winter months in a cabin together, where they set up a recording studio away from the distraction of their hometown of Portland, OR. They were completely immersed in the process, the three members of the band (Aaron Chapman, James Mitchell, John Bowers) deep in collaboration. They did not embrace typical roles–no guitarist, no keyboardist–instead collaborating as a trio of producers, adding one idea on top of another until the sounds became songs. This isolation, the early winter darkness, the misty, moody walks on rocky beaches all creep into Dracula. The band avoided society and focused on making the record, and managing to shut out most outside influences. Except for Prince. Like almost any music fan, you have a moment with Prince, the moment that you realize his mastery of song and soul and discover the true depth of his genius. Luckily for us, this moment for Nurses happened during the making of Dracula.
Following the tracking of the album on the Oregon coast, the band took the audio to Scott Colburn’s Gravelvoice Studios in Seattle, enlisting Colburn and Julian Martlew to mix Dracula. Colburn’s masterful touch (his production credits include Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Animal Collective’s Feels, and the bulk of the Sun City Girls catalog) brought the sounds to life, allowing Dracula to become a three dimensional being, solidifying the band’s evolution from a bedroom recording experiment to a dynamic ensemble.