Peaking Lights: 936 (Not Not Fun)
I’m always a bit skeptical when new music is released drenched in reverb and self-conscious lo-fi-ness. It’s back en vogue lately, with labels such as Olde English Spelling Bee and Not Not Fun leading the pack with an assortment of such murky releases. A handful of these are treasures to my ears, but unfortunately I just can’t always abide the lack of production quality as a substitute for ideas or ingenuity. Peaking Lights rises above that, thankfully, with this delightful sundropped 8-track album. Even when I first heard it early in the year, 936 sounded like warm summer nights to me. Now that summer is finally hitting Portland, it feels completely appropriate. A lot of the music here has a dub influence, both in the use of spring reverb, delays and dense production, but also in buoyant and pulsing basslines, decaying chord stabs and meandering organ riffs. The sound ends up hanging like a haze between the comfy history of dub, trailing psychedelia and summery pop, never cloying toward one any more than the other, much to their credit. Indra Dunis’s dreamy vocals float by me and I find myself not really making much effort to listen to her lyrics — to be honest I couldn’t tell you what she’s singing about most of the time. I don’t mean to imply that her lyrics aren’t worth paying attention to, but I’ve never been the most lyrically-minded listener. It all blends together into a really nice sound and a feeling more than words and music, and to me that’s more important anyway. It’s a really handsome collection of smooth, sunny, deep tracks that have been in relatively consistent rotation for me since the winter. I highly recommend it to accompany summer weather (depending where in the world you are right now, anyway) but as the case is here, good music is good music year-round.