The Lightouts are one of those that was easily missed but only because the band has yet to land a label or put out an LP across every distribution channel. They have managed to self-produce a few singles to create a solid back catalog along with the release of Want in March. Landing gigs doesn't seem to be a problem either.
The band is a foursome led by New York music veteran Greg Nelson (vocals, guitar) and band founder Gavin Rhodes (guitar, bass, drum programming). The primary duo met after Rhodes left a cryptic want ad plastered across some post-industrial space near the Gowanus Canal.
"Robert Smith/Emily Haines, where are you?"
Rhodes didn't necessarily need another Robert Smith, but he did have the idea that there might be room in Brooklyn for a band that toed the line between darkness and light. They also had to be willing to work, producing a series of singles over the span of several months to make an album.
Their newest addition to the growing collection includes Disappear and My My. Disappear is the track that caught my attention, a bright and bleak indie rock number that will have people crowing about how they sound like this band or that band.
While they do pick up some tricks from the early 90s, the sound is recast to capture a fresh and spacious desolation. Disappear plays like a lonely party song — someplace packed with people but you or someone else is feeling out of place and against the wall.
They are not primitive, but there is a minimalist bent in the structure. The bass is simple. The beats are even. The power chords are choked. Somehow they layer it all together to make it work.
Lyrically, the band isn't nearly as uptight. They know what they want to say and they set it to a punky fuzz rock beat. The B-side, if you want to call it that, moves forward with the same steady sureness. Nelson barks a bit more to punctuate their punk leanings.
Prior to the new release, Lightouts had already caught some attention for The Big Show last year. The single, along with Stray Boy and Push, created enough stir that some rags called them the next big thing. I don't know if the band is ready for such heady bigness, but they can play. This is the vid they put out last year.
The Big Show is a great track to listen to after the new release because it makes the case that these guys really do have the right back catalog. They bring back a retro punk fuzz that has been missing from the music scene lately. It will take some people back, but mostly it moves everything forward.
The Big Show does a brilliant job of blending that electronic bounce with indie rock grit. It works because the band never lets the music get too soft for its own good. It's almost what nu wave could have been had the entire genre not wimped out.
Disappear By Lightouts Flicks 6.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
It's an odd time to release two new tracks with the March release still fresh (and not listed everywhere), but it really sets the stage for what everyone wants next year — another album. You can find the album Want in entirety on Amazon or clean up on 11 or so tracks right now on iTunes.