Sometimes bedroom pop can make like that scene in Peter Pan and fly out of the window. Bound for greater things than the lo-fi production and sparse recording techniques it's made with, 'The Range Of Light Wilderness' is the work of an artist in love with the cosmic nature of it all -- it's raw, but it's a psychedelic journey too.
LP £18.99 GNM027LP
Clear vinyl LP on Gnome Life. Edition of 500 copies.
CD £12.99 GNM027CD
CD on Gnome Life.
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- The Range Of Light Wilderness by The Range Of Light Wilderness
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A photo of the Range of Light Wilderness at work shows them in sepia-toned lockdown, hauled up in a room where the curtains are closed, the guitars are out and the drums are being left to gather dust. It’s an image that resonates with the record itself, a nostalgic, private trip through endless days of summer shared between a quiet group of friends. The artists it recalls are the reckless but chilled ones, the romantic but slow moving: they dives from the twinkling melodies of Real Estate to the cosy strums of Belle & Sebastian, onwards to the slapdash rock of Courtney Barnett (whose work is a dead ringer for the irreverent and professionally cooed “Gnome Life”) and the communal shrugging of Broken Social Scene. If you don’t get the picture, here it is again: this is that poignant type of indie easy listening. Enjoy some bliss.
As the old and least useful cliche goes, ‘The Range of Light Wilderness’ is a headphones record. That’s not because the production is startling, but because the band use their suppressed lo-fi crackle to create nooks and crannies that can be pored over -- be they grainy imperfections on otherwise well-polished songs or over-articulated guitar slides that gain a renewed significance. These songs sound like they’ve been left in an attic for you to find a few years later, sounding as naive as they are aged, as excited as they are dated: “Under Your Spell” rushes in, tripping over its inventive guitar riff before the band retreat into a modest acoustic tune that lives and dies with its harmonies. The harmonies on this record were made to sound blissful and communal, but the production stifles them in the best way, making them sound like they belong to two people who have long faded away -- listening to the sweet vocals on “True True” is enough to make you feel like you’re bringing this record back to life by simply listening to it.
When indie pop gets confined to the bedroom or the garage or wherever there’s room for the four-track, it has a tendency to become splintered, and records tend to only get half-made. But this isn’t Guided By Voices or Eric’s Trip; ‘The Range of Light Wilderness’ feels like a whole record, each song perfected before it got tarnished with a poor mix job. Listening to the delicate plucking of “Through The Leaves” -- the record’s most obvious homage to traditional folk rock -- conjures a feeling I thought recent indie rock had crushed out of me: the feeling of discovering something that’s been kept like a secret, and that gets shared around only because it’s too beautiful to hide any longer.
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