Native Lights

If you missed out on the pre-order, consider this a reminder: the self-titled debut from Native Lights — a ​“super-group” featuring members of Ester Drang and Unwed Sailor (both longtime faves ​round here at Opus HQ) — is now available for purchase on Bandcamp.

I’ve been listening to the album for about a month now, and it’s basically what you’d expect from a group featuring members of Ester Drang and Unwed Sailor, in the best way. The guitars soar and shimmer in all sorts of lovely, shoegazer-ish ways while the rhythm section, anchored by Jonathon Ford’s versatile bass, pounds and hammers away with abandon.

The album walks a tightrope between those two elements, creating an interesting tension in the songs, like they’re trying to outdo one another. Sometimes that threatens to tear the songs apart, but when it all comes together — as on the thunderous opening number ​“Black Wall Street,” ​“La Rosa,” (the very first Native Lights track I heard, years ago, on their MySpace page) or the climactic closer ​“Stalin’s Organs” — it does so in a glorious conflagration.

Put simply, it’s a massive-sounding album. (At times, it’s a bit too massive; Bryce Chambers’ fragile drawl occasionally gets buried underneath the densely layered instrumentation.) I have a feeling that Native Lights’ tumult translates even better in a live setting; the band is on tour throughout April and May in support of the album.