Review : Peaking Lights - Lucifer
PitchforkIs Lucifer Peaking Lights' children's album? One song, "Beautiful Son", is apparently about Mikko, the baby born last year to duo Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes. And the child "sings" on another, "Lo Hi", mixing his gurgles with mom's soothing hums and dad's homemade synths. But Mikko's role in Lucifer highlights something that's been there all along. Built with simple loops and easily memorized hooks, Peaking Lights' music has always been kid-friendly. And they've always been smitten with repetition, like a toddler happy to watch an episode of "Yo Gabba Gabba!" over and over. If this Peaking Lights album is for kids, all of them are.
More interesting than whether youngsters will dig Lucifer is what that possibility says about Peaking Lights' Technicolor swirl of psych, synth-pop, reggae, and dub. Their approach taps into something childlike without sounding artificially crude or annoyingly naive. The way they spin together strands of cycling bass, pulsing keyboard, and reverberating voice echoes how kids are fascinated by things adults take for granted. In the process, Dunis and Coyes find energy in relaxation, vitality in letting things take their course. Maybe that's why a song as beatific and sun-staring as "Beautiful Son" seems to have a pumping heart, even though Coyes never injects it with a beat.
Still, this album is called Lucifer, so maybe don't bring it to your friend's baby shower. Coyes claims they picked that title because "it means 'Venus, bearer of light' and is the first sign of the sunrise." But it also hints at some darkness beneath the sunny exterior. The album opens with the rattling "Moonrise" and ends with the hazy "Morning Star", suggesting this journey happens at night. And things get murkier as the album approaches dawn. Later tracks such as the throbbing "Midnight (in the Valley of Shadows)" and the dense "Dream Beat" mimic earlier songs in structure, but conjure a foggier atmosphere, as sounds slowly blur and fuse into thicker layers....full text
GuardianIt starts in the gloaming, with an instrumental called Moonrise – two minutes of jangling chimes and the hammering of a clock that can't stop striking the hour. It ends at dawn, with an outro called Morning Star, whose notes slide around, exhausted. In between, husband-and-wife Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, and their new baby, Mikko (that's him gurgling on Lo Hi), spend the night in a cocoon of family bliss. The couple rhapsodise their child in Beautiful Son, celebrate their relationship in Live Love, and convey the symbiosis of music and marriage in Dreambeat: "Beats in the rhythm of the heart," chants Dunis, "my heart it beats for you." It could be self-indulgent, but what saves it is the music: a fluid, ecstatic dance of blips and bleeps that reflects the couple's love of sound, of cosmic psychedelia, dub, art-rock, electronica and everything in between. The result is the best album Peaking Lights have yet recorded....full text
PrettymuchamazingLucifer is, quite possibly, the most misleading album title that I have ever encountered. In the release notes for their third LP, Peaking Lights, or more likely someone at their label, elucidate the meaning behind the choice of name. The notes tell you that that it was actually meant as, “bearer of light,” going for the latin root meaning of the word. They are perhaps the first people to publicly insist on this usage since the third century of the Common Era, when it became typical to refer to the devil as Lucifer. On their album, married couple Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis choose to associate said name not with the afterlife, but with the new life of their son.
Had you not read the above paragraph or the press release, you would have been, like me, somewhat confused on first listen. The opening songs songs remind you many things—chillwave, dub music and even raggae at times, but nothing feels in any way sinister or deserving of Satanic associations. “Moonrise,” the album’s languid intro, gives us cascading xylophones, and it’s followed by a love song to from a mother to her new-born child. Once that song’s slightly reverbed guitar picks a laid back solo, thoughts of the title and its hellish connotations are forgotten.
Instead Coyes and Dunis invite you to share in something private and powerful. It feels like a musical crib, and at times it seems almost as if we’re violating their space by listening. Music often provides an escape, but it’s rarely into something so natal. On “Beautiful Son,” the mother’s love overwhelms and colors the whole world of the song. The piano delicately sticks to the light, higher notes, seems almost to play with the guitar as the song builds into light crescendo....full text
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