First released in the US last spring, Peaking Lights’ freshman record, 936, has been available to buy online since March. Therefore allowing more than enough time to pass for the usual diatribe of over analysis and pigeon-holing to occur.
That said, I’m not one to miss a lift on a passing bandwagon, thus to anybody already aware of the Wisconsin based duo, I do apologise. Palmed off as dub-pop by many a reviewer, this simple misnomer far too easily defines an album that doesn’t necessarily fit into any particular category. Touching upon electronica and psychedelia, the album is a collage of drum-loops and atmospheric groove.
Opening track, Synthy, is just that. An instrumental and delicate introduction to the record, a synthetic glass like echo is created throughout the song, conjuring up an orchestra of wind chimes or empty bottles catching in the breeze.
Made up of real-life couple Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, Peaking Lights make simple yet layered music. It may not grab you by the scrotum on a first listen, but rather envelops you over a prolonged period. Subtle nuances of reverberating guitar are underplayed by constant bass and drum-loops. While Dunis’s vocals offer a haunting chant, that are in some parts reminiscent of hipster-favourites, Warpaint.
Though Dunis’s ethereal singing may at times fall flat, this does not detract from the music, and if anything only adds to the records innocent and relaxed feel. Take for instance her haunting refrain on ‘All the Sun that Shines’, which rises slightly above the dub-infused bed laid down by Coyes, without distracting the listener from the beauty of the songs production.
A delicate and carefully arranged album, Coyes is unhurried and sparse with his use of sound. Distributing the odd guitar-line, organ key or drum beat, so not to obstruct the tenderness of Dunis’s voice.
Uncluttered and light, 936 is made for dreamy summer evenings, offering listeners a sun-tinged blend of narcotised Americana, that could prove just the ticket to see us through the dark and dreary British winter.