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Memories Come True

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Album Review

Memories Come True, the first album from Cliffie Swan, the band formerly known as Lights (until a legal rumble with the Canadian pop star of the same name forced them to change it), isn't so much a debut as it is a reintroduction to the trio's intriguing collision of AM radio pop and acid rock. They might be Brooklynites in the 2010s, but the soul of their music lies in early-'70s California or perhaps Australia: Sophia Knapp's honey-dripping voice echoes Olivia Newton-John uncannily, particularly on "Dream Chain," which opens the album with country-pop that's shattered when heavy riffs crash the party. Interestingly, after facing off with the northern Lights, Cliffie Swan's music is more focused and even poppy, setting them apart from the other ladies re-imagining psychedelia, like Warpaint and No Joy. The more traditional, and even corny, their songs get, the more interesting they are, and their unabashedly pretty vocals and lyrics are as girly and sweetly hippie-ish as a toe ring. Knapp tells raindrops they'll be a rainbow someday on "So Long," waits for the day when the jewel in your heart will shine over a truckin' groove on "Soft and Mean," and sounds especially angelic on "Yes I Love You," a bouncy piece of bubblegum pop that evokes roller skates, tube socks, and glittery lip gloss. Later, the women of Cliffie Swan evoke smoky summer nights on the witchy-sexy title track and "Take It Easy," while "California Baby" sounds like it should be played on an eight-track in a van with shag carpeting. When Cliffie Swan return to the heavier, more expansive sounds they explored as Lights, as on the acid rock excursion "Full of Pain," they pull it off ably, but they just sound more enjoyable and unique when they focus on their pop side. Regardless, Memories Come True is a strong new beginning for this band.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Fusing '70s AM radio hooks with acid rock expanses, Brooklyn's Cliffie Swan used to be known as Lights. Featuring vocalist/guitarist Sophia Knapp, drummer/vocalist Linnea Vedder, and bassist Alana Amram, the project began in 2004, when Knapp met Vedder in an art supply store and the two began writing songs together and performing at parties. The pair teamed up with first bassist Andy MacLeod, formerly of White Magic, and recorded their self-titled debut with Espers' Greg Weeks, which Language of...
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Memories Come True, Cliffie Swan
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