Sure they make floaty, flighty music - but on this showing, let’s not kill all hippies.
Chris Parkin 2012-06-29
The mixed reactions this husband-and-wife duo have met with since last year’s 936 album have more to do with hackneyed, Johnny Rotten-enforced suspicions of hippies than anything else.
Yes, Indra and Aaron will talk guff about an old chair they’ve just bought that fizzes with spiritual energy, but with this – let’s call it open-mindedness – comes creative freedom that’s to be admired. Three-minute ditties are supplanted by long, bubbling jams in Peaking Lights’ world.
The duo’s follow-up to the hazy 936 might be more in-focus and less weighed down by buzzing, malfunctioning equipment, yet it was certainly recorded in the same nocturnal mindset of a band that shows little respect for pop time constraints. And with six-minute songs in which to stretch out, they continue to weave surprising musical strands into an agreeably amorphous whole.
At Lucifer’s core are Aaron’s lava-lamp rhythms, which pulse and groove and shape-shift to provide a deep, wobbling floor. But it’s not just King Tubby and Augustus Pablo’s space-dub innovations that Peaking Lights utilise here, but a weirdly motorik version thereof.
In fact, for all the muggy bottom-end that Aaron coaxes out of self-built analogue machines, there’s a gently propulsive tug here that echoes Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh and new-age drones almost as much as dub influences.
And, in what’s a turn up for the books in 2012, it doesn’t sound all that nostalgic. Instead this is pop revisionism – in Peaking Lights’ minds, texture always beats melody and The Flying Lizards’ bonkers dub-laced albums were worldwide smash hits. That’s not to say there aren’t any hummable moments, though. Atop Aaron’s grooves, Indra’s reverb-shaken voice plaits itself with electronica that veers from the plush and pastoral to experimental ping-ponging and Eno-like pulsing.
The highlights are those songs that do, of course, have a little more purpose. Beautiful Son has a catchy underwater melody and wiggy guitar; Live Love somehow isn’t ruined by sounding like Simply Red’s Fairground put into space; and LO HI is languorous, twilight-dappled stuff. Sure they make floaty, flighty music, but on this showing, let’s not kill all hippies.