Once a side project from Black Mountain, Lightning Dust has slowly become the main focus for Amber Webber and Josh Wells. Previous work has comprised of spare folk and electronica topped off with the extraordinary vocals of Webber which have drawn comparisons to Beth Gibbons. This latest instalment is a holler from the abyss of the wildfires that affected Webber's home town of Vancouver as the duo ruminate on creative freedom and the life journey. Guest spots from Stephen Malkmus and Destroyer's Dan Bejar.
Limited Vinyl LP £21.49 WV197LPC1
Limited edition coloured vinyl LP on Western Vinyl.
- Coloured vinyl
- Limited edition
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Vinyl LP £19.99 WV197LP
Black vinyl LP on Western Vinyl.
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CD £11.99 WV197CD
CD on Western Vinyl.
This is piquing my interest, rapidly… and I’m not that easily excited these days. Although I probably like music with vocals more than I thought I did… Anyway(s), here’s a band and they’re kinda psychedelic and they use electronics and chunky bass-playing and they have a singer and everything. That singer’s name is Amber Webber and the band she fronts is called Lightning Dust (OK, so never mind about the band’s name). They’re from Vancouver. Home of Bryan Adams. The bass guitar is played by Colin Cowan and is excellent.
Opening track ‘Devoted To’ reminds me of the best bits of Americana wedded to the more experimental end of synth-pop, and comes complete with an intro which transports me back to 1975 (before I was born, obviously) or, thinking about it, it's just Kraftwerk’s ‘Radioaktivität’ and the long shadow it cast on me as an impressionable (relatively) young person. Glad we cleared that up. There’s a lovely bit of violin playing from Meredith Bates and a smidge of cello, played by Peggy Lee (probably not *that* Peggy Lee, that would be impossible obvs, but at least it made this reviewer’s usually dead eyes light up for a millisecond). Whatever, it’s still an undeniably fine start to a record.
Amber Webber’s vocal, then: let’s return there. What a remarkable instrument, and a versatile one with an easy grace, understated power and range and a slight tremolo which altogether reminds me alternately of Beth Gibbons, Natasha Khan and Angel Olsen. Hot Damn! The band has a fine line in bouncy songs and can switch up (and switch down when needed) -- from blended, hand-woven Americana, to gothic-infused, 80s-influenced pop -- on a sixpence. ‘Led Astray’ is a beauty of a song. Then ‘Inglorious Flu’ is something else, and maybe it’s something to do with the sparse arrangement -- piano and synth -- but I’m now hearing a bit of Kate Bush circa ‘Hounds of Love’ in there. All mighty fine, really.
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