Lightning Bug
A Color of the Sky


4.5
superb

Review

by Sowing STAFF
June 27th, 2021 | 85 replies


Release Date: 06/25/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Turn off my phone and live alone in everlasting peace

Lightning Bug creates quietly confident art that is capable of altering perspectives. A Color of the Sky, the band's first major label release, is a summer soother that absolutely glows. Lightly plucked, echoing acoustic guitars make the entire experience feel like it is meant to be heard while watching a sunrise, in the still of one's backyard. Soft, ambient pianos seemingly reflect those rays like dew-coverered blades of grass. Audrey Kang's breezy but self-assured vocals are just enough to rustle the trees, making her presence known in this gorgeous soundscape without ever trying to overtake its natural beauty. It's an album full of breathtaking atmospheres and textures, a piece of music ready-made to transport your mind and soul.

It's not all ethereal musings, though, and that's what paints A Color of the Sky in more defined, graspable, and ultimately relatable hues than your average dream-pop/shoegaze/indie-rock outing. There's a burgeoning passion within each song - one that tends to start meekly, almost shy - but that always manages to break through in an impressive way. On 'September Song, pt. ii', it's the splendorous, effervescent guitars and that half-hollow, half-authoritative splattering of percussion that makes the destination just as beautiful as the journey. 'I Lie Awake' similarly erupts, with cascading drums that blur into searing electric riffs and screeching synths. It's not a series of generic post-rock build-ups, though - the progressions are far too fluid and unreliable to be mapped out as "build-ups" and "climaxes". There's a languid approach here that allows the record to sort of effortlessly flow wherever it wants to. On the stunning title track, for example, Lightning Bug cut away from the song's acoustic ballad trajectory halfway through to bring us a movement of rising and falling strings/synths; it's a serenade so genuinely poignant and soul-penetrating that it feels restorative. Moments of emotional clarity like this aren't vied for constantly, but are instead allowed to grow organically. That's part of what makes this experience so magical - Lightning Bug aren't trying to make you feel so much as they are creating a space for you to do so on your own.

Of course if you tune into the lyrics, making strong personal connections is effortless. Lang is a poet throughout A Color of the Sky, lamenting lost love while questioning her place in the universe. One of her most striking verses comes on 'Song of the Bell', where a gradual realization is made that she's singing about herself: "If I empty me of all my self, will I feel hollow? Will I feel free? Will the truth echo through me? Will I hear it?" Themes of loss and grief surface frequently, whether it's an introspective gaze or longing for someone who is no longer in your life: "The colors burn stronger and the feelings burn true / And even the flowers smell more like you." The writing here suggests that Lang has endured a lot recently, a sentiment wrapped up by one of the album's opening lines - an expression of sheer exhaustion, or even utter disgust: "I think I'll learn to live my life as wisely as a monk / Turn off my phone and live alone in everlasting peace." These aren't ideas that just pop into your head one night. Lang suffered for them, and a resultant feeling of catharsis emanates from this aesthetic, emotional, and lyrical masterwork.

Lightning Bug has been around for a while - since their 2015 debut Floaters, to be precise - but they've rarely sounded this in-tune with each other or this certain of their purpose. It's gorgeously arranged, amazingly textured, and evocative in ways that only patient music can be. A Color of the Sky is in no rush, and its goal seems to be to slow you down as well. It beckons you to take notice of your surroundings, breathe, and find some level of inner peace. If you are a willing participant, Lightning Bug will show you the way.



s
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user ratings (67)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
June 27th 2021


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is so pure and moving.

Highly recommend listening with the lyrics up, too: https://genius.com/albums/Lightning-bug/A-color-of-the-sky

Digging: Biffy Clyro - The Myth of the Happily Ever After

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2021


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never heard of this band but this looks tailor-made for me to like, definitely will check. Nice review, Sowing!

theBoneyKing
June 27th 2021


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Already had my sights on this but will definitely be checking it out now!

Digging: Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps

Sowing
Moderator
June 27th 2021


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A bit of a grower (at least as much as I can surmise in the short amount of time it's been out) but I could definitely see this catching on here. I was actually going to shoutbox Sunnyvale about it then figured whatever I'll just write a review and he'll see it :-)

WatchItExplode
June 27th 2021


9347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I remember liking this band so I better check

Digging: Floating Cloud Music - Love is a Burning Building That Will Suffocate Us

notkanyewest
June 27th 2021


129 Comments


Was listening to this yesterday and "the right thing is hard to do" is so damn gorgeous. Got a little bored with some of the rest but might reveal itself with more listens

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2021


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers Sowing, works for me!

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2021


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my god this is too lovely! 'quietly confident' is the perf description indeed

Digging: Slow Crush - Hush

Project
June 28th 2021


5209 Comments


i am normally shoegaze-averse but considering half/cut is becoming one of my favorite albums of the year, I will have to give this a shot. lovely writeup sowing

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Illusory Walls

Sowing
Moderator
June 28th 2021


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am not even sure I'd qualify this as shoegaze (I know I did in my review); it's def got elements of shoegaze but it's also rooted in indie-rock and dream-pop, as well as some folk...it's just...nice. :-)

Feather
June 28th 2021


7441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was just considering buying Half Waif tickets and I think I will be pulling the trigger now considering this is the opening act. Tiny venue too. Will listen and read the review later.

WatchItExplode
June 28th 2021


9347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album for a summer nap. I mean that as a compliment.

Feather
June 28th 2021


7441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Halfway through this and I am absolutely loving it. Just pulled the trigger on tickets. Should be a perfect sunday show to cap off a weekend

Sowing
Moderator
June 28th 2021


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice, that sounds like a great show :-)

This is one of those albums I have to fully immerse myself in (instead of listening to a song here, a song there). When I do hear it in full, there's nothing quite like it. The band doesn't do a anything that I'd call innovative, but the tone of their instruments and the patience of the arrangements really brings out a subtle beauty that feels so simple but rare. I think the synths play a huge role in this, there's a quiet fierceness about them that gives this music an edge that it really shouldn't have. Counterbalanced by the soft vocals/acoustics/strings, they're able to accomplish a wide range of sounds within such a calm bubble. I love it.

Feather
June 29th 2021


7441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listened to this twice through on the plane and it was perfect. Really digging this. Gunna include it in a few playlists.



Your review is rock solid btw, great work here. Thanks as always for bringing relatively unknown artists into the spotlight for us.

SuzyC
June 29th 2021


162 Comments


Thanks for the tip. They sound very promising.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
June 29th 2021


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

half/cut < 3

this has been soothing my 2nd-pfizer-shot-induced-fever-headache a whole lot, it's soo smooth :]

Sowing
Moderator
June 29th 2021


39394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Feather, Suzy. Not a bad album if it treats covid symptoms ;-)

RadioSuicide
June 30th 2021


1989 Comments


enjoying this way too much

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 30th 2021


42053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Would I enjoy this (will give ¥10000000 to whoever can give me the correct answer and point out where the other fucking currency keys are on this damn keyboard ugh)

Digging: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - Teenage Jesus and the Jerks



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