The artwork for Nuit’s latest song, “One Hit” is striking. A humanized adult box holds hands with a child box. The adult box holds a torch as the two venture into the dark. The two figures carry a curious look that might be described as worried. This seems to be in stark contrast to the title of the track. What would “One Hit” have to do with wandering into the dark? Perhaps it is a reference to drug use, taking the proverbial “one hit” of an illicit substance. That doesn’t work, however. Look at the cuteness of those boxes. The parent is not leading the child into drug use. But the parent is certainly leading the child into the unknown. What is that unknown?
Perhaps it is venturing into pop music? Perhaps Nuit recognizes that this is their poppiest moment and represents a shot at having their one hit. Then why the apprehension in the artwork? To be fair, going pop could be a potentially frightening move for a band that has worked consistently at carving out its sonic space. Nuit’s previous releases have all fit fairly cleanly into the sonic space of shoegaze/dreampop. Especially, their songs always carried some iteration of jet-engine guitars. “One Hit” is different, but Nuit shouldn’t be too frightened of going pop. Nuit has always had solid song structures underpinning their dense sonics. For the first time, however, the guitars are dialed down, there are no flangers or phasers in sight. So how do they do?
The song opens with an intentionally constricted sound: old radio vocals, cheap drum machine, oddly eq’d guitars. It’s all a prelude for their big pop open and it does a great job of allowing the band to make a grand entrance. The verses ride a groovy bassline over two chords. The real star, though, is the chorus. The band’s instincts were right that this could become their hit. All that shoegaze guitar-gnarling comes in handy as the guitarists whip up a jingle-jangle storm that is the perfect sonic bed for the catchy melody. While a great song, if there’s one issue, it is that, given Nuit’s talents, I would love to see the guitar solo go more in a shoegaze direction instead of a perfectly fine, but not especially thrilling guitar solo. Then again, if they got too wild, the song would stand less of a chance of being Nuit’s “One Hit”.