Release Date: Jun 19, 2012
Record label: Mexican Summer
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
It starts in the gloaming, with an instrumental called Moonrise – two minutes of jangling chimes and the hammering of a clock that can't stop striking the hour. It ends at dawn, with an outro called Morning Star, whose notes slide around, exhausted. In between, husband-and-wife Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, and their new baby, Mikko (that's him gurgling on Lo Hi), spend the night in a cocoon of family bliss.
With Peaking Lights, married duo Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes have been in a perpetual state of hoisting their sound out of the mud. Early releases like 2010's Imaginary Falcons' songs were little more than wobbly dub-inspired basslines somehow hanging on to fluttering electronics and layers of hiss. These formless jams gave way to 2011's well-received 936, an album that felt more realized in spite of being filtered through an ever-dreamy fogged lens.
The “weirder” strands of pop music have been making quite the impact lately, with the rise of omnivorous work by artists like Grimes, Elite Gymnastics, Tonstartssbandht, Doldrums, Gatekeeper, and Unicorn Kid. The so-called weirdness often manifests itself in an aesthetic sensibility rather than a musical one, which has resulted in our highly heterogeneous sonic landscape. Yet most of this work is being crafted by artists with shared inspiration from the frenetic digital culture they’ve been the first to grow up with.
Peaking Lights are the married Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes. They're raising a kid. They once had an odd little shop in Madison, Wisconsin specializing in the excavating trade of weird old records and clothing. Peaking Lights was born out of romance and blithe, endless psychedelic jamming—deep in the comforting blessings that come in the confines of mutual amicability.
There isn’t really a way of describing Peaking Lights’ music, and their stellar third LP, Lucifer, without slipping into an adjective-athon that involves words like “druggy,” “opiatic,” “glacial,” and “dubby.” There’s basically no way around this; Peaking Lights do one thing—glacially paced, opiatic psych-dub—and they do it well. They’re also about the least likely band to have this amount of hype; it’s not like the market for songs that sound like the soundtrack to an imagined psychedelic western movie is booming. But Lucifer is an achievement, one that even outpaces the band’s beloved 2011 breakthrough, 936.
Is Lucifer Peaking Lights' children's album? One song, "Beautiful Son", is apparently about Mikko, the baby born last year to duo Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes. And the child "sings" on another, "Lo Hi", mixing his gurgles with mom's soothing hums and dad's homemade synths. But Mikko's role in Lucifer highlights something that's been there all along. Built with simple loops and easily memorized hooks, Peaking Lights' music has always been kid-friendly.
Peaking LightsLucifer[Mexican Summer; 2012]By Colin Joyce; July 13, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetPeaking Lights have always been a bit of an oddity. The husband and wife duo has often embraced their poppier inclinations, but without the sort of hooks that stick with you. Their dubby aesthetic seems more a match for the cracked psychedelia that often marks the lineups of experimental festivals like Poland's Unsound than the pages of the indie rock outlets that have championed their latest works.
Textural and whimsical, Lucifer is the latest effort by Peaking Lights’ couple in love, Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes. Dunis enjoyed earlier success as a vocalist for Numbers, while wild child Coyes bounced between bands throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, always infusing his musical creations with spontaneity and psychedelia to spare. As he states in a self-written piece for Domino Records: “I…went on a massive stone haze mushroom-induced tour-of-the-mind journey.
Lucifer is the third album. The artwork isn’t as good as on the second album, but that isn’t an issue. At least not for you. Peaking Lights' latest offering is a sprawling, unpredictable musical odyssey. Not one of those dangerous ten year journeys home via Troy, rather a more sedate and ….
There is music out there bursting with rage of the personal and political nature, music that comes at you with savage speed and giant riffs, music that will gee you up to fling a Molotov cocktail into a police station or flick the Vs at your history teacher. You can listen to it tomorrow. First, make some room in your life for the delightful deep bath of a third album by Californian duo Peaking Lights.‘Lucifer’ is their second album for Domino sub-label Weird World, and it finds them sounding increasingly individual.
Making a pop song longer than four minutes is a daunting task in 2012. Given the lessening importance of the LP format, the song as an individual unit needs to be a convenient unit of fan-to-fan communication. A 3:30 run time is much more likely to pass from person to person than a 6:45, even among seasoned genre listeners. In lieu of volume or frequent chord and tempo changes, dub-pop duo Peaking Lights must sustain a listener’s attention through texture alone.
After last year’s acclaimed ‘936’ from Wisconsin-based married duo Aaron Coyles and Indra Dunis, aka Peaking Lights, a new full-length in just under a year was the last thing we expected. Although, with the birth of their son Mikko, the guiding light muse for their new album, it seems that they’re in such a great place as a family they were able to work quickly on ‘Lucifer’. Worries about the quality of the album due to the quick recording process will be quashed when you hear the delightful, hypnotising psychedelic-dub sounds that featured so heavily on ‘936’ but with a cleaner and lighter perspective.
Sure they make floaty, flighty music - but on this showing, let’s not kill all hippies. Chris Parkin 2012 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.
In between their breakout debut, 2011's 936, and its follow-up, Lucifer, Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis experienced a life-changing event: the birth of their son, Mikko. This brought about a conceptual shift in their bubbling dub-pop, forcing them to conceive jams in those hours between "moonrise to sunrise." Whereas 936 introduced us to a wonderland of dub-infused psychedelia, Lucifer features a much wider scope from the duo. "Cosmic Tides" follows their debut's template the closest, but the dub influence has been curbed ever so slightly to allow other influences to enter into the fold.
Never trust a hippy. One moment they're saying things like "I guess it's easier to look for the thread that ties long spans of time together, rather than the needle that pokes the holes for the thread that collapses point a and point b - making life less linear and more cyclical. Like a pulse that pumps blood thru the body, bringing nourishing energy as well as removing the impurities within that whole thing you call you." The next minute, as you're trying to figure out exactly what the fuck that means, as your eye follows the eddies of weed smoke in the oil lamp light, before you know what's happening you'll be dancing round a campfire clad in only a circlet of briar, mushied up to your popping eyeballs.