Nov 07, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Jeff Davenport
Earlier this year, Justin Sullivan, longtime drummer for Flat Worms, The Babies, and Kevin Morby, shared his second solo solo album as Night Shop, Forever Night. Following after the record’s release, Sullivan is keeping his momentum up this year with a new double A-side, “Universal City / “Harness,” the band’s third release on Dangerbird Records. He has already shared the first single, “Universal City,” and today he’s back with “Harness,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Harness” is a gorgeously textured and meditative effort, gently unfolding in a swirling mix of expansive instrumentation. Sullivan’s vocals and swaying harmonies cast an evocative spell, imbuing it with deep longing and inviting the listener to get lost in the track’s poignant moonlit beauty. Lyrically, the track finds Sullivan exploring the complicated territory of a relationship, recognizing the danger ahead and celebrating the unknown rather than running from it一“And when you said, Just come and take my hand/I thought, ‘There’s danger up ahead’/We closed our eyes and then we jumped right in/We closed our eyes and I don’t want to open them.”
Sullivan says of “Harness” and its counterpart, “Universal City:”
I’ve been describing them as the twin faces of Janus; the god of transitions and dualities. They reflect different perspectives on the same situation and the duality inherent in desire. Harness is about accepting a dynamic; submitting to it, wanting to indulge in it and celebrating it. A way of being in an unconscious space where you see only the beloved. Whereas Universal City reflected more of my conscious mind; seeing all the other things in life outside of that dynamic.
He goes on to explain of the accompanying video:’
I wanted to make a video with my friend Madeleine Daste because I love her sense of aesthetics and how she can create a sense of place and narrative without being heavy handed. She’s a romantic but also has the right amounts of humor and practicality to balance out that perspective which I think really serves the song. We just spent a few days together, driving around and basically talking about relationships the whole time, which I think created an overall romantic, playful and melancholic result.
Finally, he says the pair of singles may prove to be marks of where Night Shop is going next.
I definitely see them as a bridge to what’s to come. Or maybe they’re more like a rope ladder to climb out of a well haha. It’s been a rebuilding time in my life to say the least and these songs and the ones that I’ve begun writing have been really important for me. They’ve allowed me to believe that I will be in a different place soon, if I just keep following the music.
Check out the song and video below. “Universal City” / “Harness” is out tomorrow via Dangerbird Records.