9 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

If it’s variety you seek, from fuzzed-out rock guitars and high female harmonies, to the odd saxophone and accordion, all of it tethered to bursts of old fashioned Hendrix-like power-trio freak-outs, then Williamsburg, Brooklyn trio Lights is quirky treasure. Guitarist Sophia Knapp and drummer Linnea Vedder, ably anchored by bassist Andy Macleod (and special-effects wrangler Smoke Wizard), are a charming vocal duo, their harmonies so uncannily sisterly it’s natural to wonder if they’re family. “Fire Night,” is a disco tune, complete with deadpan French spoken word choruses, schizoguitar licks and a pair of sassy female voices. In “War Machine” their high-pitched wordless vocals float above more guitar squall and bass hammering, while on “Love” they break into silky, happy, irresistible pop — complete with a spooky coda. Most encouraging is the fact that Rites ends with the stunning, measured cover of Fleetwood Mac’s, “Nothing Left to Build,” where Macleod shows he too can sing and the band cements its old-school cred. A spree of nimble contrasts and keen anticipation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

If it’s variety you seek, from fuzzed-out rock guitars and high female harmonies, to the odd saxophone and accordion, all of it tethered to bursts of old fashioned Hendrix-like power-trio freak-outs, then Williamsburg, Brooklyn trio Lights is quirky treasure. Guitarist Sophia Knapp and drummer Linnea Vedder, ably anchored by bassist Andy Macleod (and special-effects wrangler Smoke Wizard), are a charming vocal duo, their harmonies so uncannily sisterly it’s natural to wonder if they’re family. “Fire Night,” is a disco tune, complete with deadpan French spoken word choruses, schizoguitar licks and a pair of sassy female voices. In “War Machine” their high-pitched wordless vocals float above more guitar squall and bass hammering, while on “Love” they break into silky, happy, irresistible pop — complete with a spooky coda. Most encouraging is the fact that Rites ends with the stunning, measured cover of Fleetwood Mac’s, “Nothing Left to Build,” where Macleod shows he too can sing and the band cements its old-school cred. A spree of nimble contrasts and keen anticipation.

TITLE TIME
4:58
2:59
3:38
6:22
4:18
3:54
4:04
4:05
4:05

About Lights

Fusing '70s AM radio hooks with acid rock expanses, Lights featured 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. They teamed up with first bassist Andy MacLeod (formerly of White Magic) and, with Espers' Greg Weeks, recorded their self-titled debut, which Language of Stone released in 2008. Soon after, the band signed to Drag City and issued its follow-up, Rites, in 2009. Late the following year, however, the group changed its moniker to Cliffie Swan to avoid confusion with the Canadian pop artist known as Lights. The band's last output as Lights was a cover of David Bowie's "As the World Falls Down" for the charity album We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie. Knapp, Vedder, and Amram worked with Erika Spring and Hannah Rawe for their first album as Cliffie Swan, 2011's Memories Come True. ~ Heather Phares

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