released May 27, 2012
Recorded January 2012
Engineered & mixed by Gary Olson at Marlborough Farms.
Mastered by Ron Harrity, Peapod Recordings.
All songs by Phil Sutton
Also available on 7" EP, from Calico Cat.
Pale Lights on this recording are:
Andy Adler, lead guitar
Lisa Goldstein, drums
Maria Pace, bass
Phil Sutton, rhythm guitar, vocals
Brooke Watkins, keyboards, piano
Every end of year I manage to find something special on someone's year-end list that is completely new to me. The Seattle based music blog, The Finest Kiss, is a consistent source for my year-end finds and this year I was enlightened to Brooklyn's Pale Lights. The band formed in Fall 2011, and it came about after some core members of The Soft City moved out of town so Phil Sutton (who was also a member of Comet Gain and Kicker) got together with Lisa Goldstein (The Soft City), Lisa's friend Maria, and Andy Adler (Crystal Stilts) and they recorded some songs and put together the debut EP. The EP contains four lush tracks that are rougher than The Soft City output, and are reminiscent of Flying Nun releases and the simpler, dark aesthetic of Crystal Stilts accompanied with a Lloyd Cole style croon. The EP was released on Phil's own Calico Cat Records in October of last year, and it's highly recommended listening if you appreciate soaring, jangly pop arrangements and happened to miss it last year.
This is pure jangle-pop, in all its glory. Not one note of distortion exists within the world of these songs, instead riding a wave of unfiltered, bright, and sharp guitar pop. It sort of sounds like early Belle and Sebastien if they had used only electric guitars and the album had been cracked to 45 RPM. [...] All these tunes also happen to be beyond catchy, the guitars plucking melodies and hooks out of thin air, and swirling keyboards to add another dimension to the songs. It's just a simply lovely package, one of those 7" that just appears out of nowhere, and grabs a hold of you thanks to its wondrous songs.
Boy Of Your Dreams deja a las claras desde sus primeros compases por donde deambula el EP: guitarras claras, cuasi australianas, teclado persistente de tono prolongado y psicodélico y la voz de Phil queriendo ser Alan McGee, amén de un puente instrumental que, como sucedía siempre en los grupos del capo de Creation, lejos de ser prescindible resulta casi lo mejor del tema. Ghost Of Youth (saludo al Germ Of Youth de Comet Gain y leve parecido con la sublime Roger The Rocket Ship de Markley, casualmente versionada en su día por Cinema Red & Blue) se nos antoja maravillosa, con los sutiles toques de piano en su parte final y los coros de Brooke y Maria.
Waverly Place, ya en la cara b, sigue el festival de pop perfecto, recordándonos por momentos a cuando Belle & Sebastian eran la mejor banda de pop del universo (allá por la época del Tigermilk y el 3, 6, 9 Seconds Of Light). No descarta ni evita Phil sonar con gancho aquí, repitiendo en no pocas ocasiones determinados pasajes líricos que terminan por hacer que tarareemos la canción una vez terminada, hecho al que contribuye también su aproximación a coordenadas propias de los Brilliant Corners. She Wont Ever Calm Down sube un poco el tempo para dejar la sensación de que han hecho pleno con las cuatro canciones; no podría ser de otra forma cuando la canción no desentonaría dentro de una obra maestra como era el Forever Breathes The Lonely Word de Felt.
Una maravilla de EP que recomendamos a muerte desde aquí. Esperemos que no se quede la cosa en un proyecto de sólo un artefacto para el bueno de Phil. Lo podéis escuchar en su bandcamp.
Pale Lights will automatically get my support, based on the fact that main man, Phil Sutton, was once part of Comet Gain…one of my top bands of all time. This new gem isn’t quite along the lines of the quirky art-pop, but it’s equally as infectious. The vocal has a deep tonal quality that while fairly distant in sound, holds onto an intimacy that makes pop fans swoon. Musically, it’s a slow paced jangling affair, with ringing guitars that craft warmth and melancholy simultaneously.
The debut EP from Phil Sutton’s new combo Pale Lights (who include Crystal Stilts’ Andy Adler) draws on the best of indiepop to impressive effect. You can detect elements of Postcard, Flying Nun and the Go-Betweens in the sophisticated chime-pop of ‘Boy of Your Dreams’, accompanied by Phil’s world-weary Lloyd Cole croon. The other three tracks are fiendishly listenable too: ‘Waverly Place’ employs pounding drums and jangly guitars for its driving Byrds-ian pop and ‘She Won’t Ever Calm Down’ adds terrific touches of piano, while the outstanding ‘Ghosts of Youth’ has the same kitchen-sink-drama lyrics and bittersweet melodic twists that we love in records by one of Phil’s old bands, Comet Gain. If they continue like this, these Pale Lights will burn bright.
The whole ep makes me want to sit and play the record over and over again - y'know, like you did in the old days. Take a listen to the mod-ish 'She Won't Ever Calm Down' and tell me you don't want to get off the settee, get dressed up and go out dancing. Classy, sexy, smart and essential.