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Krautrock. Much like the weather and Owen Wilson in ‘Zoolander’, it’s so hot right now. So hot. Here then are Naked Lights, a quintet from sunny California doing their version of the genre, a warm and immersive repeato sound with reasonably brief songs (they managed to squeeze 14 onto this LP) and bright, approachable tones. Each member of the band plays a minimum of three instruments over the course of the record so it’s not all just pulsating synths - in fact on some tracks like ‘Audubon’ the tightly focused bassline is the main krauty component while fluttering woodwind and hippie chimes float us into an altogether more organic headspace, compounded by ‘Arduous March’’s scratchy guitar and loose live drums, once again held together by a calm and collected bassline.
While it’s easy to bundle it into the “warm krautrock for fans of Eat Lights Become Lights and Warm Digits” bracket (and make no mistake that’s exactly what’s happening here), Naked Lights do have a certain edge and uniqueness thanks to the sheer amount of different tones and textures at their disposal. Plus they have their own full analogue studio so they’ve been able to take their time crafting these little repeato vignettes to perfection, and it really shows, with tasty layers of cosmic guitars one minute and lively pulsating synthesizers the next and Morricone-esque surf twang the next. Kraut is the dominant theme throughout though. The brevity of the songs can make it seem a little unfocused and scattershot in places but this is very good. Love the beautifully painted car on the sleeve too.
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