Since their makeshift formation in 2008, playing music to fund a road trip to Texas, husband and wife duo Peaking Lights have been producing new releases annually, resulting in an impressive discography of underground psychedelic pop.
Throughout these years, Peaking Lights have developed an unusual sound, which draws upon influences from shoegaze, dub, reggae and indie-pop sounds, but is difficult to exactly pinpoint.
Heavy on distorted effects, Infinite Trips, provides a curious introduction to the album. The hypnotic guitar line, which seems to build, swell and fall away throughout the song, is paired with singer Indra Dunis’ unique vocals, creating a warped and fluid effect, and emphasising the psychedelic nature of this band.Following the re-release of the Californian band’s critically acclaimed 2011 album, 936, which has been considered their most realised accomplishment, Peaking Lights are back with another bohemian, lo-fi record, Cosmic Logic.
The second tune, Telephone Call, is carried along by a heavy dub inspired bass line that contrasts greatly with the album opener. Underlining the layers of repetitive and delicate synthesiser patterns, the bass adds to the groove of this song and provides balance against Dunis’ slightly child-like, high-pitched vocals.
Hypnotic Hustle might be a confusing track for some listeners. It’s a catchy little tune, with a consistent drum-machine beat and synth loops that make you want to dance, but has complex and unexpected pattern variations that can easily throw off your rhythm. While it is an endearing track, the line ‘got lost keeping time with our feet and now we’re in too deep’ is very fitting.
Overall, Peaking Lights have created what is simply a very listenable album – the catchy and upbeat synth repetitions making it easily digestible and inoffensive. While the middle few songs don’t particularly stand out amongst the other tracks and would work well as a background music in a party setting, for example, they are laid back and subtly add to the overall atmosphere of the album.
However, as the record progresses it seems to greatly improve, the seventh song, Eyes To The Sea, being one to listen out for. Interesting against the fast paced synth lines, Indra Dunis provides an ethereal vocal track to this song, making it a standout. Almost like Grimes in delivery, this is a mature approach to what would have otherwise been a fairly straightforward and uncomplicated tune.
Their most heavily produced record yet, Cosmic Logic, is a bizarre construction from Californian duo Peaking Lights. Its eleven tracks are an enjoyable listen, though perhaps not to everyone’s tastes as Dunis’ vocals and the warped production may take some getting used to. If you’re in the right frame of mind, Cosmic Logic will wash over you and has the potential to hypnotise. It’s a complex creation and certainly worth a listen for anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.