Review Summary: Constant Motion
Somewhere between the reverberating horns and the spiraling guitar tapping, AU's second LP shines with its monstrous restlessness. It's almost irritating at times - so many echoing sounds, so much buzz dressed with a veil of catchy, indie melodies. Where do these all lead? A hasty listen will probably fry your brain like an omelet. But a closer one will likely reveal a heap of prodigious ideas buried under these swirling and psyched compositions.
can best be characterized as a lustrous, though schizophrenic, shred album. And such signs of aberrant behavior are discrete from its very beginning. A blast of paranoid drumming and trembling guitar riffing heralds a coiling melody, reinforced by several keyboard layers, bagpipes and saxophone leads – this is how "Epic", the album's starter builds some tension. Soon the second blast will kick in, but Luke Wyland, the principal songwriter, knows that such a storm is always followed- and fueled also- by a calm. So this is the way the album is structured: playful or ethereal interludes preparing the ground for triumphant explosions of bombast. "The Veil" floats in a dreamy piano melody for less than 5 minutes, just for "Solid Gold", the album's centerpiece, to set the pace for some dancing. Guests like Colin Stetson, with his vivacious saxophone brushstrokes seem to fit perfectly into the whole. This loud and mischievous circus makes its appearance in short forms like in "Why I Must", or discloses itself in more sentimental, folksy ways, like it does in "Get Alive".
Such a spirited parade though, seems to be intrinsically disorganized. Both Lights
at times feels swallowed by its loud trumpeting and indomitable stylistic range. AU may be far from shaping a trademark sound, and somehow seem to comfortably fit under the “unsettled experimenters” label that so unfairly justifies their skills. But Both Lights is neither a product of maturity nor a random attempt of some fake avant-garde wannabes. Equipped with equal amounts of technicality and transgression, offers a refreshing experience with clamorous results.