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Frightening Lights, The – “Frightening Lights, The” – [Bruit Direct Disques]

Thurston Hunger   6/18/2016   12-inch, A Library

Why wasn’t I informed earlier that Eartha Kitt was
reincarnated? That’s not quite fair to Elizabeth Downey,
the Australian mastermind and mistress vocalist guiding
these darkling Lights, she does sing a nice minxy mix of
demure dizziness and seductive strength. Mic’d up so
devotedly, you can sometimes hear when her lips press
together. Her voice is accentuated by the typically stark
accompaniment, Downey on acoustic guitar, peeling
chords off like petals from a flower augmented by
Dan Hawkins, on a host of instruments most notably a
breathy and sometimes shimmering organ. Never any
percussion, and these ballads move like tumbleweeds on
a slow breezy day. Whatever they scratch, her voice is
the salve. The last track “Pretty Things” drops the most
bombast, all others drift in and out, feeling like
a woman singing alongside her OD’d partner. Is it
a lullaby to bring back to life, or a farewell
funereal folk hymn? Each side starts with a powerful
number, and the tracks following feel like they were
cleft from those lead-off and deepest cuts. From the
band SIR without love? A mesmerizing release here, do
not miss. -Thurston Hunger

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