Release Date: Aug 4, 2009
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Compared to the duo that made their debut back in 2007, the Lightning Dust of 2009's Infinite Light sound just a touch gentler, more meditative, and smoothed out around the edges. Their sophomore full-length is full of sleek string arrangements (especially on "Dreamer") and graced with a heavy handful of computerized drumbeats and reverb effects; in other words, it's just as stark and strange as the duo's debut, only more elegantly dressed. Lightning Dust also sound quite a bit like the Handsome Furs on this release -- something that can be chalked up to a combination of gritty synthesizers, oily drum machines, and lead singer Amber Webber's hungry croon.
Quick plug for one of the great lost albums of the decade: I first heard Amber Webber singing on Early Day Miners’ Offshore (2006). For almost ten years, Early Day Miners have been operating at the intersection of slowcore and post-rock, whilst singing the American environment – natural, built, and often broken – into being. On ‘Return Of The Native’, Amber sings a series of haiku-like sketches in a haunted, tremulous voice that put her in a league with Gillian Welch or Emmylou Harris, but also has enough mystery (what put the cracks into that young voice?) to recall the unknown “Nancy” from Jandek’s early records.
Amber Webber's broken-warbled vibrato is thick and sour-sweet like buttermilk, wobbly as a warped record, bumpy as the soft-hard ridges of a curved spine. The Vancouver singer/multi-instrumentalist who sidelines as Lightning Dust with fellow Black Mountaineer Joshua Wells, lends single-slug words "hand" and "sea" a dozen extra syllables and a line like "this city is in a panic" a waving-or-drowning inscrutability. Throughout Lightning Dust's second LP, Infinite Light, Webber's on the verge of tears-- or laughter, depending on how her voice finds you-- and her raw emotion makes for one of the fiercest, most stirring vocal performances of any release this year.
Fact: there are enough Black Mountain side projects to make Black Mountain seem like a side project. Other fact: said side projects are consistently worthwhile..
In a year swarming with disappointments, tumbling from the breathlessly hyped box of new releases, it’s a relief to report that the sophomore effort from Black Mountain cohorts Lightning Dust is a refreshing follow-up to their satisfying debut. Although hardly a ground-breaking record by any means—lacking any real claim to reinvention in the crowded indie rock world of the 2000s—it’s a sturdy building block on their previous outing, gliding gently from sighing stringed ballads and swirling acid-laced pysch folk to tip-tapping mid-tempo strollers and haunting dirges bound by airy drums and eerie keyboards without missing a beat. Amber Webber and Joshua Wells, the two masterminds behind the dusty, spindly sounds of Lightning Dust, find a quietly enticing niche, protruding outside of the confines of their meeting grounds in Black Mountain.
Sorry, the page you are looking for could not be found. Please use the site search at the top right or click one of the sections below. Fearless and irreverent Toronto news, analysis and live content focused on City Hall, Queen’s Park, the TTC, the environment, activism and more. Toronto fashion and design trends, environment tips and product reviews from Ecoholic Adria Vasil, Freewill Astrology by Rob Brezsny and Dan Savage's sex column Savage Love.
Tremulous opener "Antonia Jane" glints enough Mazzy Star to prompt moon shades, but Amber Webber's reedier voxcraft reverbs tougher stuff. Paired with Black Mountain bandmate Josh Wells, the singer brings a subtle undercurrent of the duo's Canadian psych-roots quintet, even though as Lightning Dust, she and him recall a Mazzier She & Him. Webber's pop noir delivery sprinkles 4AD, but she's quietly feral, as if Sinead O'Connor sang with the temerity of Daniel Johnston.