Review : Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
PitchforkFor something so simple and direct, Lightning Bolt's music is pretty genre-straddling. Ask a fan for a description and you'll likely hear more about what they do-- play loud, fast, and insanely repetitive-- than how they sound. Not so long ago "loud and fast" meant punk, but now those words could just as easily mean noise, prog, metal, grunge, lo-fi, even techno. Lightning Bolt's chugging riffs, splattering beats, and amplified overload contain all those styles. Often the only difference between their songs is which label fits a little more than the others.
Measured with that ruler, Earthly Delights is Lightning Bolt's metal album. We're talking degrees here-- the duo of bassist Brian Gibson and drummer Brian Chippendale still prioritize speed and volume over genre. But overall, most tracks center around the kind of growling chords and monolithic beats metal is built on. Even the more amorphous songs have a distinct gravitational pull. And as with the best metal, the simple pound can be kinda catchy, driving into your brain until it's stuck there.
In other words, Earthly Delights is no grand departure. But drastic change wouldn't fit this band. The whole point of their music is hypnotic repetition, magical moments sprouting from endless reiterations. They could stretch out further, but they'd likely lose access to those mini-epiphanies. Besides, there are enough bands rejecting their pasts in the name of diversity. Lightning Bolt are happy to grind out an eternal present, and few can dig deep into a moment quite like them....full text
BbcProvidence, Rhode Island’s Lightning Bolt do a lot with a little. Formed in 1994 by bassist Brian Gibson and drummer Brian Chippendale, two graduates from the creative, liberal-minded Rhode Island School of Design, the duo spent much of their early existence playing strictly live and improvisatory, touring hard and setting up on the floor in whatever warehouse or dive bar they were booked to play to dissolve the space between band and audience.
This, you might think, implies a certain visceral intensity to what Lightning Bolt do – and you’d be right. Earthly Delights, the duo’s fifth record, occupies similar territory to its predecessor, 2005’s Hypermagic Mountain, being both a record of some pretty remarkable technical chops, and more simply, being an album of songs that often rock extremely hard.
Gibson’s bass is channelled through an extensive array of pedals, sometimes – as on Colossus – soaked in lashings of psychedelic wah-wah, at other times fuzzed out so it covers the sonic canvas much as a few particularly large insects might cover the windscreen of your Ford Buick after a fast cross-country drive. Chippendale’s approach to percussion, meanwhile, is every bit as unconventional. Playing a drum kit stripped down to the bare necessities – just snare, kick and a couple of well-dented cymbals – he matches Gibson’s lurid bass splurges with some hectic, splattery drumming that occasionally coalesces into propulsive rhythms, but elsewhere seems just as happy going off like a string of lit firecrackers....full text
PopmattersOdds are better than good that if you’ve clicked on this link, you already know whether or not you want this record. Lightning Bolt is not the sort of band likely to surprise their listeners with a sudden digression into acoustic balladry or chirpy synth-pop. For the uninitiated, Lightning Bolt consists of two guys named Brian, one who plays an electric bass through several effects pedals and an amp the size of a refrigerator, and one who plays drums as quickly as he possibly can while shouting stuff into a telephone receiver strapped to his face with what looks like a Day-Glo bondage mask. Together, they play incredibly complex riff-rock that exists somewhere between brash, lo-fi garage punk and deranged prog rock. They are very loud. They are not for everybody.
One may very well ask, even if you like Lightning Bolt, why you need this record. Their style is, in some ways, inherently limiting. Everything Lightning Bolt does will sound like other things Lightning Bolt has done: it will have crushingly huge bass riffs and manic drumming, with some distorted and incomprehensible yelling thrown in for good measure. My father has likened the band to having someone grab your lapels and scream in your face for 45 minutes; this may be, but there are few who yell better....full text
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