Monday, March 21, 2011

Review - Peaking Lights - 936

Peaking Lights - All The Sun That Shines from Not Not Fun on Vimeo.

This has already been reviewed back at Tinymixtapes, but I've been listening the hell out of it, so I thought I'd chime in.  This band has been with me for a while, since they were great friends with the Night People crew back in Iowa City, and would come through a couple times every year between 2007 or so and my departure.  When I first saw them, they were still a fairly sprawly, lo-fi psych act in some sort of Pink Floyd vein, but they quickly got more and more beat-oriented. 936 is the culmination of this - culmination in the sense that it's hard to imagine anyone doing the particular thing Peaking Lights do any better than it's done here.  If Pocohaunted eventually turned into a raging Afrobeat band fronted by teenage girls, Peaking Lights is the Upsetters of American Underground Psych - they lay deeeeeep in the cut, from the ruthlessly minimal Linn drum patterns to the lo fi recordings to the utterly deadpan lead vocals.  If you love analog warmth, tons of reverb and delay, and a steady, relaxed pulse, this is your record.

They have a decent sense with hooks, particularly on the track here, "All the Sun that Shines," but I can't say that's their real attraction.  This is, for better or for worse, a 'background record,' one that I put on while I'm reading, one with a deep atmosphere but not a lot of foreground.  Live, Peaking Lights is one of those bands made for closing your eyes and swaying gently from side to side, and right about now is the time when they have to decide if that's what they always want to be.  But in this moment, listening to this record, I wouldn't want it any other way.

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