Saturday, December 21, 2019

Albums of the Year # 5 Lightning Dust - Spectre

Something of a revelation when I came upon this in October.

On the first Friday of October, a morning that proved to be full of interesting, new releases, this particular one, Spectre, the latest from Lightning Dust, hit me like a bolt from the blue, if you'll forgive the pun.

In the same way as Mega Bog's wondrous Dolphine turned upa few months back, this is a record that arrives with little or no fanfare, but appears fully formed, crammed with arresting melodies and a commanding narrative thread, demanding that you investigate further and get acquainted with the artists proffering the gift before you.

Lightning Dust are Vancouver based Amber Webb and Joshua Wells who formed the band in the mid 2000's to provide them with an outlet for their other musical project, the distinctly heavier Rock concern Black Mountain. This has proved to be an altogether more ethereal affair, driven by a brooding, electronic pulse.

Although the tunes here are accessible, the lyrical themes are less so, but bear rich promise of a record to truly immerse yourself in over the darkening winter months of 2019. Spectre appropriately is a haunted record, like the glossy surface of a deep forbidding lake, rich with the gifts of memory, loss and sensual experience.

A few immediate comparison points that struck me. Sharon Van Etten's similarly stark and brilliant Remind Me Tomorrow, Arcade Fire's austere hysteria, though I'd have to say that Lightning Dust have trumped that band in my affections already. Also, and most strikingly, the record's dignified bearing minded me of Patti Smith at her declarative peak, (Redondo Beach and the album Wave immediately came to mind), almost as high a compliment as you could wish to bestow on an artist.

Spectre richly deserves these plaudits I assure you. On first play its up there with the very best records I've heard this year. Or many a year for that matter A magisterial, assured album. One that grabs your attention from its opening notes and holds you rapt like a classic Hollywood thriller until its final reel. Quite majestic!

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