This isn't a review of Quiet Lights; however it has a focus on this EP, The Big Roar. Quiet Lights are a Brooklyn five piece who are of the dream pop corner in the New York borough's rapidly growing sound. It's obvious that Quiet Lights listen to a lot of Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. The Big Roar is a four track EP with one stellar track placed right in the heart of it, "Simple Mechanics". It's a mix of Mogwai guitar effects, Slowdive vocals and just about every other dream pop / shoegaze band put into one recording. I say this because this section of music, shoegazing, has its founding fathers that are never pulled apart or dragged through the gutter. It's the sons and daughters that feel the full force of scrutiny, tortured by us writers and then sent back to the Wikipedia page they once researched. It's a harsh genre where the old beats the new. The influence beats the influenced and the classic beats the post / neo / revival or whatever it is today's NME journalist calls it.
It's our job to find the new, and put them in with the old. We're never going to get another My Bloody Valentine. After m b v was released, shoegaze artists could pack up right there and then because they know they'll never match the brilliance of Kevin Shields. It's taken 21 years for another My Bloody Valentine album, and in that time there hasn't been one spectacular shoegaze album. And the fall back (the genre is dead) does not work, because bands have been carrying the shoegazing aesthetic ever since The Jesus & Mary Chain decided noise-pop was the new Motown.
So what do Quiet Lights bring to the table? Well they must bring something, or else they wouldn’t be put on show as a discovery. Dissecting an artist’s sound really does prove to be an asset of the careful listener. There's no point listening to the shoegaze / dream pop genre because you 'like noise'. It's the lyrical undertones, emotion through imagery and the expectation of dynamics that pulls me in. Emotion is the hardest subconscious temperament a musician can evoke. Some People can be blown away by a talented soprano, others may be on the receiving end of a well-structured and stylistic dream pop track - "Simple Mechanics". The Big Roar is almost two years old, and Quiet Lights hardly has 500 likes on their Facebook page. It's on their about section that we see the full picture. "Reverb delay chorus vibrato," the four effects of Quiet Lights, and essentially the four basic ingredients of dream pop. Quiet Lights are not a primitive amateur dream pop band, they know how to play, they know what sounds work with what and they build on the basics, with their own personality. Personality will get you places.
Quiet Lights are not the most prolific of Brooklyn bands, with The Big Roar being their most recent release. They have an album planned, recorded and almost ready to give to the world. Before they do this, they need to ask themselves what it is they actually intend to do. Do they want to imitate their musical heroes, or do they want to declare independence.
(You can catch Quiet Lights perform live on March 28th at Union Hall in Brooklyn. My scheduled visit to the great United States has room for this date; however I won't be in the audience as much as I'd like to be. Unfortunately, many venues enforce a strict 21 years and over rule. My very mature other half is 19, old enough to drive, old enough to marry, old enough to serve in the armed forces. So you can be old enough to have your brains blown out, but not old enough to see Quiet Lights perform live. Venues, all you have to do is I.D, that's it, why should our enjoyment and experiences be cancelled because you're 'at risk of liability'.)