Peaking Lights: Lucifer
- The title for The Peaking Lights' third full-length is Lucifer. It begins with the ritual percussion of a song called Moonrise, heralding a lengthy sojourn in that typical Peaking Lights haze which culminates, at the other end of our psychedelic odyssey in the disparate noodlings of Morning Star. Reading those titles it seems to be a journey through night, full of the mysterious possibilities carried on Cosmic Tides and the dark possibilities of what lurks at Midnight (In The Valley Of The Shadows). Yet I have trouble relating these portentous labels to the music contained within: this seems to be the sunniest Peaking Lights record yet.
For those of you not familiar with the band's modus operandi, it's worth laying it out, 'cause it's a good one. Psych folk-pop swirls mesmerically, led by Indra Dunis' sleepy sounding vocals, made all the more hypnotic by endlessly repeating kraut-rock rhythms and, as if that weren't enough, shudders of dubby reverb echoing occasionally across the mix. It's like the mind-benders' one-stop-shop. It worked fantastically on last year's 936, a sweaty, groovy thing that almost lost itself in the haze. While Lucifer comes on with all the same elements, the feel is subtley different. That haze of reverb has retreated, substantially. With it goes much of that feeling of losing yourself to the slow and endless dance that Peaking Lights take you on. The new clarity focuses attention on the simple, synth melodies, Indra's tuneful, semi-conscious singing and, foremost, the kraut rhythms going on and on like a perpetual-motion machine. It's like the happiest, most unassuming kind of kraut-rock, not demanding a whole lot of you, just grooving, baby, for as long as you want to hang around. It's almost as if Peaking Lights are going on some kind of wholesome kick. It might have something to do with the fact that Indra has just had a baby with her musical co-conspirator Aaron Coyes. You can hear all about baby Mikko on the album's second song, Beautiful Son and he even has a guest spot and a delighted gurgle on single LO HI. When I say that Peaking Lights have gone a bit straighter, don't get me wrong. This is still Peaking Lights and they are still ten tabs of acid and half a doobie more out there than any band since the Grateful Dead. There's a wealth of swaying reggae rhythms still to lose yourself in and there's just a bunch of people who are going to want to do so. Whatever they've changed in what they do, The Peaking Lights have still got it very right.
- Chris Cobcroft.