Somehow, after years on the road, consistent releases to their already impressive discography, and a savvy online presence during COVID, Nightly is still considered “up-and-coming.” The Nashville-based trio, made up of Jonathan Capeci, Nicholas Sainato, and Joey Beretta made major waves opening for rapper NF in 2018, before embarking on their first headline tours in early 2019 and early 2020. Capitalizing off tracks such as “the movies” and “Twenty Something,” both of which, at the time, were gaining major interest online, they played small, intimate rooms across the US to passionate fans who they treated like family.
The group immediately jumped on TikTok when the platform exploded into the public consciousness at the start of the pandemic and played virtual shows in support of their debut album, night, love you, which was released in the fall of 2020. The alt-pop record features some of their best, such as “mess in my head,” “I’ve got so much to tell you,” and “older.” They’ve spent the better part of the last year-and-a-half releasing stand-alone singles, such as the stellar “lover/loner,” “about you” with Swedish electronic duo NOTD, and “hate my favorite band,” which was played live prior to release as opening act on The Midnight’s spring trek across the US.
The stand-alone tracks felt like extensions of night, love you. It seemed that singer Jon Capeci, known for his expressive vocal delivery and impressive vocal range, was working through painful emotions brought and was using these songs as a vehicle to try and move forward from his past. “On Your Sleeve” feels like he finally has, and is, without question, the official start to Nightly’s new era.
Opening lines, “No, I don’t know how it happened/Good friends and the way you laugh when we talk in a British accent,” immediately suggest an exciting new presence in his personal life. After what seemed like years of Capeci working through what could only be described as a toxic relationship, a fresh start was necessary for him, and is welcome by the listener. The driving mid-tempo pop production that dominates the song reflects both the butterflies and boldness that comes with starting with someone new, and Capeci seems to be nudging his new love to admit that there’s something there; “Say what you wanna say/What you wanna say to me/I know you feel it so say that you wanna lay here/You never wanna leave.”
The boys did their homework and soaked up everything they could working with NOTD and The Midnight, and it shows. It is, arguably, their most sonically cohesive track in years, building and releasing suspense in all the right places. It is euphoric, it is summer-ready, and, as shown in the teased shots for the accompanying music video in which Capeci appears physically and emotionally free of past burdens, is just the beginning of a new chapter.
Nightly will be embarking on another opening act slot for The Midnight in September, before almost immediately heading out on another headline run. It may be the last chance for early fans to see the trio before they grow past the “our best kept secret” phase of their career, because with music like “On Your Sleeve,” Nightly is aiming to be the next big thing.