Forever Night is the infectious second album from Night Shop, the project of Justin Sullivan — a frequent collaborator of Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee. After losing a good friend “under tragic, heartbreaking circumstances,” Sullivan took some time away to “focus on his mental health and relationships”. This meant stepping away from music for a period of time, until he felt ready to create again.
Forever Night opens with the title track — all guns blazing. Guitar-heavy and euphoric, Sullivan sings on the track: “I want to go where the music’s loud / And the lights are bright”. And you almost wish you could follow him to this venue as though he is the Pied Piper of indie music. Meanwhile, the wonderfully titled “Slow Dancing at the Wax Museum” is about feeling grateful about the good things in life but all the while wondering “why the Devil’s got to breathe”.
“Midnight” is a nostalgic and optimistic track, as many of these album tracks are. Sullivan yearns for a more innocent time. It’s beautifully romantic. “Just to Get Home” features Hand Habits and continues this change in pace. It’s a slower song but a heartfelt one. (“You’ve been hurt so many times, I know”). Unfortunately, the songs “Let Me Begin” and “Pensacola, Florida” start to sound repetitive, which is why it’s so great when Jess Williamson joins Sullivan on “For A While”.
It's here we're introduced to a different voice and therefore a different perspective. “For a While” is an exploration of what it means to come ‘home’ at a certain time in your life and the acceptance that comes with it.
Forever Night is a superb album with more than its fair share of strong and stunning tracks, but there is a danger of the slower tracks being ever so slightly, well, boring. While it won’t be for everyone but it’s well worth a listen. Justin Sullivan’s hiatus from music seems to have served him well as he has returned with a triumphant record.