Monday, November 21, 2016

Album Review: Critica by Lightmusic - Take A Walk On The Wild Side

While a lot of abstract psych rock bands build a solid framework to construct their abstract musical architecture on. On the album Critica, 3 piece Lightmusic start with a framework that is not only askew and leaning from the get go but it is ever changing as well. This gives their songs a free form quality. Everything essentially sounds improvisational. Guitarist Micah Lewis spews forth lyrics that feel like torrid rants some that can feel quite manic. Whether the rants bend toward lewd sensuality or some breed of strident social commentary the effect can feel like slam poetry at times and at other times like the insane stream of consciousness that babbles out of that one homeless guy in the neighborhood whose mind inhabits some other place.

Wherever Micah and Lightmusic take you it feels trippy like a fluid Dali-esque painting. Take the storytelling of Blue Room that puts you in a trance. It is part Twilight Zone and part Pere Ubu meets the Minutemen. The musical diversions are so meaty. Inside The Heart cuts a smooth groove with splashes of crystal clear guitar Micah spinning lyrical webs. Don't try to figure out context or meaning just float with it. Girlfriend's Dream has a comical undertow at first and then the brash groove cuts in with so many strange layers. It is a fun house mirror of a song. Reach For My Love balances between R and B fusion and underground rap really. It feels totally improvised but in such a wonderful way. Oddly enough in it's abstract improv I counted at least 12 sections that would in and of themselves make incredible indie pop rock progs. To Answer Your Question almost seems to flirt with Mid-Eastern melodies or maybe not. Maybe it is what I am conjuring up. The soundscape on this song did make me think of sweeping dunes of sand turned fire red as dusk. Tenderly, the first track on the album feels like a warm up of sorts for things to come.

Lightmusic's aesthetic is out there and might not be for everyone. I knew this when I reviewed their Remain Unshared EP way back in 2011 which was thoroughly engaging like Critica is today. It is not populist music in anyway. I guess that is why it is so damn interesting. Listening to this kind of music is why I find myself listening to improvisations by John Coltrane. This kind of music goes in every which way. The verse verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus pattern is non existent. Besides Micah Lewis on guitar and vocals you have Stevie Kugelberg on bass and Zach Mabry on drums. They lay down such amazing sounds. The musicality on this record is beautifully insane. Listen to Critica when you want to get out of those loops in your head and you will have an interesting artful journey.

Out on Porch Party Records.

Robb Donker

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