Denver's c takes us back to a time when indie, alternative or college rock meant sonically adventurous and musically challenging sounds. There's hints of early R.E.M., and as such, all of their influences, bands like Wire, Television, The Velvet Underground; arty, angular, intelligent music, standing at the threshold between pop music and punk rock.
The first and most noticeable feature of their album Tunnels is the twin guitar attack of David Kelly and Jake Miles. The guitars are kept spindly and taut, dancing and weaving around one another like an aerial ballet, all weaving a cobweb around Kelly's trebly vocals. The guitars are kind of abrasive, there's some inherent aggression to this tone - although not the sulphuric cartoon violence of overdriven metal guitars - which creates an interesting contradiction against the smooth and cosmopolitan vocals that brings to mind Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard. The twin polarities of smooth and sharp, and aggressive yet accessible, create a fertile nexus for Tunnels to stick in your mind and explode in your subconscious.
Many of the lyrics deal with "a loss of identity and a drive towards transcendence," as stated by the press release; heavy concepts to squeeze into four-minute pop songs. You will return to Tunnels again and again to decipher these mysteries. Mysteries At The Lighthouse seem like a band that you want to champion, the kind of band that you put on mix tapes, and write their name on your shoes. And they deserve this adoration, as smart and complex art pop is a rare and precious gem.
Listening to Tunnels for the first time, I experienced a similar sensation to when I first discovered Death Cab For Cutie's We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes! HIghly literate, very motivated, and extremely stylish young men, who were still sincere, but also slightly reserved in their presentation. It just means there are layers and levels to Tunnels to explore and appreciate.
Sadly, since this album's release, guitarist David Kelly has since moved to Seattle to pursue a solo career so Tunnels is your only chance to hear this incarnation of the band. Have no fear, the remaining three members will keep on plying adventurous arrangements and heartfelt lyrics, but still, take the opportunity to appreciate this moment.
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