I have to admit when I read that White Lightning & the Blackouts was influenced by Unwound, Slint, Killing Joke and Siouxsie I was excited. The band comprised of Nathan Brahce (drums), Kyle Brahce (bass) and Alex Wright (guitar/vocals) doesn’t disappoint on their eight- song album Illaminate.
I love their sound because it does harken back to post-punk as well as a period in the ‘90s underground that feels like some kind of off-kilter grunge. The music feels visceral and raw in a very good way, very much in the same way as when you listen to Closer by Joy Division.
Things get going with “Former Veteran” which is immediately a testament to the band's unique vibe. Waves of distortion flow through the air as the drummer picks his moments pouncing on tom drums. Wright does have a unique vocal style and I wouldn’t say it is too close but there are some similarities to Ian Curtis. The bass is also an essential element. Brahce slides up and down the neck holding down the chaos of the guitar. The band throws in some effects but just enough. There is the backwards reverb effect they utilize that doesn't sound tacky.
I was hoping the opener wasn’t a fluke and it wasn’t. “Gimme Dopamine” contains a unique vocal delivery along with instrumental work that sounds close to a band like Les Savy Fav. The band get a little more melodic and subdued with “I Don’t Bleed” while the arguable highlight and centerpiece “Love to Asexual Youth” has a number of notable instrumental parts you won’t want to miss. They close strong with “Laetitian” which is both powerful and restrained. The band hits a vibe you just kind of have to hear.
In a world where EDM and DJ’s are considered pop and anything rock within the realm of the mainstream seems like some kind of overproduced celebration Illaminate feels like the perfect reaction to that refined gloss. Wright’s vocals aren’t pretty and I know there will be a camp of people who “don't get it.” There is an inherent human quality to the way he sings and I can say it is unique.
Suffice it to say the aesthetics of this album are just about perfect for the music these guys make. I for one tip my hat to them for finding a sound that feels as honest and heartfelt as this.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook