Nighttime Stories marks the band’s first release written front to back with guitarist Dallas Thomas, who took over guitar duties upon founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec’s departure in 2012. In the process of writing the album, the quartet endured a slew of realizations, tragedies, and glimmers of optimism that guided the creative process to the most potent work of their nineteen-year career.
Nighttime Stories was an album title initially proposed for Tusk, the hallucinatory art-grind band that included Pelican members Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Larry Herweg, and Schroeder-Lebec, in addition to vocalist Jody Minnoch. The writing of Nighttime Stories was instigated shortly after Minnoch’s unexpected death in 2014, and some of the dissonant viscera and dark psychedelic structures that were characteristic of Tusk’s sound began to unconsciously inform the album’s direction. In homage to their departed colleague, Pelican applied the previously discarded title and pulled many of the song titles from notes Minnoch had sent to inspire the direction of the unrealized album. As the writing of Nighttime Stories progressed Thomas also experienced a heavy loss with the passing of his father, to whom the album pays tribute on opening track “W.S.T.” (on which Dallas performed his guitar parts on his father’s Yamaha acoustic).