Amber Webber and Josh Wells have decamped from Canadian noise collective Black Mountain to make infinitely more entertaining music with their duo project Lightning Dust. It’s a stealth album, Infinite Light is. It starts out with the perfectly pleasant and heavenly melancholy of “Antonia Jane,” all easy twang and warm piano, presided over by Webber’s commanding and idiosyncratic delivery and a nasal tremble that’s all Stevie Nicks sass and Jean Smith grit. So you’re thinking, “Okay, fucking cool, a little bit of sunbaked country, right?” No, fuck no, because then it’s all Martin Rev Casio heartbeats and fuzzed-out one-finger synth stabs bleeding over the staccato acoustic guitar and piano and Webber and Wells’ vocals are pushed to the forefront, more forceful than ever. It’s a strange and wonderful mix of late summers on yer grandma’s porch in the hills and the dirty sweat of some city alley. From there, the hybridizations come fast and furious. There’s hints and nods towards Kate Bush (“Never Seen”), Emmylou Harris, Tears For Fears, Suicide, and Concrete Blonde.
“History” is lush and panoramic with an unspooling lyric guided along by full-bodied piano and washes of organ, before climaxing with a big Bad Seeds-esque lalalalala coda. “Honest Man” has Webber and Wells trading lines in one of those classic “this relationship is ending” kinda songs (or maybe not, I can never figure out lyrics), where the hurt is gone and it’s just recognition of the inevitable. But then it soars into this epic synth swoon, heralded with the line, and I fucking love this line, “Wake up, we’ve got a song to sing.” Maybe the whole thing is a metaphor for the healing power of music, and how creativity is tied inextricably to love, but by that time, the female singer has gulped down the words “an honest man” for the last time and the song is gone too cruelly and briefly.
“Wondering What Everyone Knows” nicks the guitar riff and the melancholy drama of The Church’s “Under the Milky Way Tonight” in the verses and the chorus is full of hymnal dignity and brittle New Order synths. Really, what more needs to be said?
Lightning Dust: www.lightningdust.com