Album Review: Light Pollution – Apparitions

My dear partner in music-writing crime is of good Chicago stock. And half of my family hails from Chicago (the other half being Southern), but an affinity for the Windy City has somehow always eluded me (though for the record, I do love me some Bears, and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” has been in my iPod for years now). For a while, that extended to bands from Chi-Town as well (I wasn't even really totally in love with Wilco, blasphemous as that may be), though lately I’ve been warming to the way of thinking that liking bands from Chicago isn’t such a bad idea. Case in point: Light Pollution. This is one heck of a band, little loves of mine, and Apparitions is one heck of a record.

As rich and substantial as a pint of Guinness, and as lovely and refreshing as an unexpectedly cool day in the middle of a DC summer, Apparitions is filled with majestic soundscapes. Light Pollution reminds me a lot of bands like Dirty On Purpose and Film School, gritty yet beautiful, with cascading walls of ever-changing noise that reverberate long after the song has ended. There’s a blend of electronic elements with more traditional song structures, and the resulting combustion is of paramount enjoyment. The noteworthy “Bad Vibes”, for instance, plays up nuanced bleepery with a big guitar sound, and slight vocal distortion, creating a masterful twist of noise that builds and builds as the song powers along. Simply blistering.

The strong swirl of keys at the opening of “Deyci, Right On” is another fantastic effect. Sounding almost spiritual, the keys and the pervading hum give way to a sporadic, spotlighted drum, and then a full-on mass of organ-helmed racket. Light Pollution has a way with carefully orchestrating this intricate web of sounds down to the smallest detail, and their efforts are much appreciated. “Drunk Kids” is one of my favorites, shimmying along as it does with a wash of tender fuzz and a jaunty backbone. I find it to be exceptionally fantastic. Hearing “Good Feelings” and that oh-so pretty, slightly droning intro hasn’t once failed to give me good vibrations. It’s another of my favorites, and I suspect it’ll end up being one of yours.

Chicago might be known for being the land of baseball curses, crooked politicians and deep dish pizza, but it’s also home to an increasing number of quality new bands, such as the divine Light Pollution. All that’s left to say, really, is that you need to own this record. Immediately, if not sooner.

mp3: Oh, Ivory! (Light Pollution from Apparitions)


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