All right, so you’ve been listening to Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter, and other animal/verb or adjective/animal combinations of chamber pop bands until you started requiring daily insulin injections to counteract all those saccharine harmonies, overwrought arrangements, and cotton candy-like production values.
So, why on earth would you want to listen to a band like Light Pollution, a scruffy, bearded Chicago quartet whose first album, Apparitions, is described in its press release thusly: “One can hear hints of current indie faves such as [the aforementioned] Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Deerhunter”? Huh? Why would you?
Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I think the answer to that riddle lies somewhere buried in the third cut, “Drunk Kids,” when a slashing, angry, growling electric guitar comes cutting through the treacle like a vinegar drip. Oh, you think, these chamber pop maestros actually have an edge!
Amidst all the swirling synthesizers and lush harmonic vocalizations of chamber pop comes a little bit of Chicago-style acid bite on the tip of the tongue, a balsamic vinaigrette for the aural soul.
Light Pollution also doesn’t mind employing real drums among the keening, soaring vocals — cymbals crash like a thousand smashed bottles of Coors Lite against a parking garage wall, occasionally interrupting the too smooth, overly polished production values. If only they could sustain that edge throughout, this might actually be an album worth hanging onto.
See, by track five, “Deyci, Right On,” these guys start sliding into space/prog rock and by the song “Bad Vibes,” they’ve gone full fathom five into Pink Floyd territory, “Welcome to the Machine” era. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Just saying, they need to get back to the slashing guitars, which get buried deeper and deeper into the mix as the album, pardon the pun, progresses.
And guys? A little advice: Don’t ever name a track with multiple s’s. I mean, what is up with “SSSlowdreamsss?”
Light Pollution: lightpollutionmusic.com • www.myspace.com/lightpollution/ • Carpark: www.carparkrecords.com/pollutionpresspage.html