Peaking Lights - Lucifer
- By Nik Jeffries -
- Jun 20, 2012
Peaking Lights, the west coast husband and wife duo of Aaron Doyes and Indra Dunis, have clearly kept themselves busy of late. Their latest offering ‘Lucifer’ comes little over a year after the deliciously weird and genre-defying ‘936’ and is their third album in only four years. In many respects it’s business as usual in that you never know quite what to expect. Whereas ‘936’ drew primarily on dub, krautrock and minimal disco, ‘Lucifer’ feels like a grander statement - as if their loose and gritty grooves are let loose to play in a desolate urban landscape.
Recorded in Brooklyn over the course of a month and self-produced with the help of engineer Al Carson (who has also lent his hand to Yeasayer and the experiemental electronica of Oneohtrix Point Never), ‘Lucifer’ feels on one hand like a sprawling psycadelic prog/dub record, but also more focused; somehow more pop. As if Tangerine Dream and King Tubby had met on the Studio 54 dance floor. There’s an ethereal quality to Indra’s vocals, giving it a dream-pop quality which will no doubt please fans of Beach House or the recently re-formed Mazzy Star.
Album opener ‘Moonrise’ is an ambient sound collage replete with chiming wood instrumentation that phases in such a way that it’s highly reminiscent of Steve Reich. In fact Reich’s pioneering use of repetitive rhythmic figures and slow harmonies serves as a suitable and befitting modus operandi for Peaking Lights, the result of which is fantastically effective and devilishly simple. ‘Beautiful Son’ perfectly exemplifies this as it modulates on a piano refrain and a repetitive bass line whilst the ghostly, gossamer vocal floats in over the top of a hazy, sun-drenched guitar.
‘Cosmic Tides’ and ‘LO Hi’ are the most overtly dub inspired tracks on the album, the thick bass underpins swathes of reverb laden effects giving Indra’s vocals space to flow and slip in and out of shafts of panoramic brightness. ‘Dreambeat’ begins with a propulsive electronic beat akin to the No-wave New York noiseniks Suicide before opening up for treated timpani rolls beckoning wave after wave of undulating echoed patterns.
To say ‘Lucifer’ is eclectic would be a massive understatement. Peaking Lights are incurable polyglots and their signature mix of propulsive lo-fi electronics, dub influences and unrelenting rhythms pay homage not only to the motorik of Neu! but the sonic experimentation of Lee “Scratch” Perry and pretty much everything imaginable between. In many ways it’s an album of bare boned simplicity but also it’s a complex melting pot of incredibly disparate ideas and influences. It’s an album that shouldn’t make sense but does… and it makes glorious sense at that.
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