Failed Graves shakes things up while keeping it simple

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Artist: The Lights
Album: Failed Graves
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Score: 7.75/10

THE LIGHTS: ”NEW NEW”

The Lights are a bit of a musical conundrum. On the surface this local trio are a punk band with garage rock leanings. But if you dig a bit deeper and give their latest effort Failed Graves a good listen or two you’ll discover tinges of psychedelic wails (“The Fixer), some borderline pop rock (“New New”) and other seemingly out of place sounds for your typical Northwest punk band. But the surprise isn’t the unusual mashing of styles. What’s surprising is that throughout the album The Lights shake things up with their layering of various sounds while also keeping things simple. This could be a product of only having people in a band, making musical embellishments easier to distinguish, or maybe it is just something that wasn’t planned and it sort of just happened. Whatever it was The Lights were trying to pull off here it works.

A record like the one I’m describing might sound like a complicated, earbending ride, but this is where the simplicity comes into play. Despite all the tambourine mashing (“Criag Jr.”), shout-along choruses (“Trabbit”) and the quieter, more melodic songs (“Puerto Escondito”) Failed Graves is more or less a lo-fi punk record. Craig Chambers’ guitar keeps a jangly, but also dirty sound throughout the album while the rhythm section of Jeff Albertson (bass) and PJ Rogalski (drums) never gets too fancy. On Failed Graves The Lights are doing exactly what local bands like Mudhoney before them did in the early 90s and what their contemporaries The Fucking Eagles and The Cute Lepers are doing now: they’re taking punk rock making it their own. And really, what’s more simple than that?

** * The Lights celebrate the release of Failed Graves tonight at the Funhouse with Partman Parthorse and Erik Blood. Doors are at 9:30 and the cover is $7 ***

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 13 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and former editor of the defunct music site Ear Candy.