Review Summary: Spotlights release an album of brutally subtle intensity, dragging you along for a ride of heavy riffs and haunting shoegaze distortion.
Brought forth as the brainchild of a married team, Mario and Sarah Quintero, Spotlights now continues with three (including drummer Chris Enriquez) when performing live. Their third full-length album, Love & Decay
will undoubtedly, albeit gently, melt your ****ing face off. It's a living, breathing, fading sound of intensely atmospheric, alternative sludge. It's a warm blanket of shoegaze cozying around a fox while the fox gnaws its own leg out of a hunter's trap.
"Continue the Capsize" opens the album slow and heavy, giving you a good impression of what to expect for the entirety of the experience. I couldn't find lyrics anywhere, but no matter. I'll make something up for you. "Continue the Capsize" centers around an ancient ghost ship that breaks down 12 minutes after midnight. For eleven hours straight, it's been driving down a highway that slowly turns into a gravel road, then into a dirt path. Now it's the middle of the forest in a deep, hazy fog, with condensation dripping off the ship's alternator motor thing. As smoke lifts from the engine, a genie appears from the swirling gaseous oils and clouds of burnt plank wood. He grants you seven more songs as wishes, which brings us to "The Particle Noise", track 2 on the album.
"The Particle Noise" picks up where the album left off. And let's be real here, the whole album has the same feel. Mario and Sarah are both credited as vocalists, but only one voice can be recognized on the album: the unassuming, haunting vocals of who I'm assuming is Mario. His voice pushes along in stride, in the unusually few (but not rare) moments where present, just below the looming instrumentals of heavy, slow riffs. The downplay of the vocals seems very formulaic of most shoegaze, similar to forefathers My Bloody Valentine
Love & Decay
continues along with the same brutally subtle intensity, letting you swim up from its depths only long enough to give you exactly enough air to breathe through the rest of the album. And it's exactly what you need, to soundtrack your life, if you feel like a ball and chain has been holding you back all week. It's a heavy reprieve from stress, a dip in the hot tub, and the kind I crave when life is "can't even" and the universe seems confused by my own part in it.
There isn't really a highlight track, but if I'm awarding the mandatory trophy, I'd give the "spotlight" to track 6, "The Age of Decay". The sludgy riffs have a bit of an old-school Isis
feel, which grooves just fine for me.
No work necessary, this album will drag you along for the ride. Even with its singular style and feel throughout the entire album, its rhythm and volume will bring you to new places in a way where you'll forget how you got there, like the ebb and flow of a Mono
Spotlights have created a work of art worthy of being placed above the mantel, one to get lost staring into during the crackle of the fire.