The Electro Lights
Slotting themselves firmly into the category of modern rock and roll, the Electro-Lights’s seven song EP is a thorough brief on the direction the band wishes to head. With the aim of carving out their own corner of the rock genre, they eschew the dance and pop leans of their contemporaries, bringing a driving and deliberate approach to the rock music which raised them. Not a throwback group by any means, the focus on the more traditional aspects of their art is clearly a conscious decision and their passion for the project is clear.
On EP opener “Watch Your Back,” the band lay out the blueprint for their work. Over a drum track which can occasionally get crowded, the band are willing to change direction, shifting time and style over the course of the song’s structure. With solos aplenty and dual vocals calling back and forth, they bring to mind the image of a bar band playing in a darkened corner. Rather than an insult, the seedier distortion of the guitar and the bitten indifference of the chorus do enough to demonstrate that this is not a night at the opera.
With songs barely lasting more than three minutes, they are certainly a band who know exactly what they want to say and waste no time driving right to the heart of the matter. Rather than extraneous or indulgent, the instrumental sections bring a raw energy to the music. Similarly, the occasional drifting of the vocals across one another adds to the density and the complexity of the tracks, adding even more depth and meaning on the next listen.
The band’s propensity for a breakdown constructs a fierce and confrontational soundscape. The EP’s fourth track, however, breaks free from the formula, decluttering the mix and allowing the individual elements to come to the forefront. Named “Modern Day Don Quixote,” the song still manages to turn heads towards the band’s signature style. The final song on the album offers something slightly different. A more swinging, countrified rhythm brings a speed and a groove to the EP which is absent elsewhere. By keeping the guitars gritty and the vocals raw, the band still remains true to their roots, but “the Ballad of Scruff McGuff” does enough to hint at a future divergence away from a singular style. As a manifesto, the EP does enough to demonstrate that the Electro-Lights are certainly a band to keep an eye on, hoping that their debut album will be able to bring more of the same.
Review by Huw Thomas