20 Jul 2016

Pale Lights - Seance for Something

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

I am always glad to hear a new Pale Lights release. These Brooklyn folks have dipped their toes in the best Australian and New Zealand indie rock for influences, but add a special sparkle and shine all their own.

The songs were recorded and mixed by Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor head honcho) at his Marlborough Farms studio, in Brooklyn. Kyle Forester (Crystal Silts/Ladybug Transistor) is featured on keys and saxophone, and Suzanne Nienaber (Great Lakes) on harmonies.

Witness the lovely opening track, “Mother Cries”, which features Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) on tambourine. It reminds me of vintage Velvet Underground and Go Betweens. I love the lilting vocals and the soft washes of organ that wrap themselves gently around your ears, all while chugging along merrily in the best Kiwi pop tradition.

“Girl in the Park” is more of the same, only this time it’s like Pat Fish has joined in. The lyrics are memorable and the lovely melody floats about like a many-hued lotus blossom.

“Alone In This Room” has that slow, dreamy cadence so prevalent on recordings by The Bats. Phil Sutton plays rhythm guitar and sings all the lead vocals, and he has a pleasant voice that perfectly suits the material. I also really appreciate the fine lead guitar work here, it provides a nice counterpoint to the main melody.

“Sweetheart” is the closing track, and with its swirling organ and twining male/female vocals, it reminds me the most of classic Go Betweens (and makes me miss them all the more). Thankfully, we have groups like Pale Lights who are as much in love with these classic bands as we all are, and who have the skills to both wear their influences on their sleeves and come up with fresh takes with their own tunes.

Fans of all the bands mentioned here will love this EP, and we can look forward to a new album later in the year.

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