One of the better blends of ethereal, stripped, baffling, magical, and flaky alt music I've yet heard, Lights is a band you'd expect at a Wiccan Festival or opening for a comeback of the Incredible String Band. Folk, psych, light rock, and tribal meet up in a hash-hazed grotto to shed inhibitions, to dance, and to perhaps raise an elven sage from the dead. Sophia Knapp wields a mean guitar when she gets down to it, which is pretty frequently (losing it occasionally as well, as on Lick the Blood), while Linea Vedder Shults drums and encants lyrics with her, more than once ending in howls, shrieks, or shouts, pagans cavorting and reveling in moonlight. Adam Mitchell handles the rhythm section duties on bass, and someone named "Wizard Smoke"…um, "plays the paint box", whatever that is, along with extra backing vocals and jawharp.
Hell if I can tell what the ladies are singing but it matters not a bit because their voices are more musical than story-telling, and the recording matches the oddness of the ouevre, being half home job and half studio, sometimes raw, other times sophisticated, occasionally both. There are a lot of effects going on—some pedals, other board controlled—but I'm betting they can pull all this off live as well. The disc strongly indicates a group needing to consider extending the instrumental sections, as their bizarre sensibilities come out intriguingly there. That this CD is on the Language of Stone label makes perfect sense, as that outfit seems bound and determined to keep trying the perimeters of a number of styles, looking for egress to another dimension. Labelmates Festival and Silver Summit, reviewed in FAME, demonstrate that rather strongly.
Lights has hints of Melanie Safka at her strangest, not to mention her highest pitched, as well as the kind of outré ambience that came through vigorously in highly regarded obscure groups like Comus, though Lights has neither the same melodic and rhythmic components nor that sharp degree of prog honedness. I'd love to see them at a fest with ensembles like Martian Lamps, Tao Son For, Legendary Pink Dots, Overflower, and other of the fringier psych-rock element. That would be a combination that would make me consider making up with some of the idiot magazine publishers I taunted and pissed off, just in order to cover it. I'd probably have to strangle myself afterwards, but I'd do it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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