Bringing together two much celebrated, disticntive artists, Lights On Moscow sees Minor Victories/Editors lead guitarist Justin Lockey teaming up with Hazel Wilde, who fronts Newcastle’s Lanterns On The Lake, and rather impressively, the project ends up sounding barely anything like either of them.
As a music critic, you become all too aware that you’ve used words like ‘atmospheric‘ and ‘ethereal‘ a plethora of times, which can send even the most erudite linguist scuttling for the nearest on-line thesaurus, but I’m not going to cheat in that way, for this review. Hell no. And the reason for that is because Lights On Moscow ARE atmospheric and ethereal. Frankly, there are no two words that can better describe them.
When the wintery ‘Lord Let Me Know‘ kicks in on this 4 track EP, it feels like we’re about to bear witness to some kind of Gregorian monk chanting, but then Wilde’s sensuous, breathy vocals take over and it becomes something else entirely, culminating with the kind of crunchy guitar playing you would associate with Swervedriver‘s Adam Franklin in the early nineties, albeit in a more gentle, otherworldly incarnation.
The sparse, minimal instrumentation of ‘I Must Come Clean‘ further sets the duo’s stall out – I think it’s fair to say that this is definitely NOT an EP aimed at fans of ‘pop’ in its purest form, focusing more on imposing feelings of uncertainty within the psyche than urging anybody towards the crassness of the club dancefloor. In fact, if anything, they’re trying to lure us away from it.
‘Like Lovers Often Will‘ is probably the only one here that you could confidently describe as ‘commercial‘, possessing that kind of intense, train-like rhythm that was used to such great effect earlier this year by The Limiñanas on their terrific single ‘Dimanche‘. It’s striking and hypnotic, leaving you virtually comatose while the delicate ‘Spirits Around My Bed’ dances prettily to conclude the EP.
The inception of this coming together actually took place several years ago, but with each member busy in their respective careers, the project kind of fell by the wayside. But now, circumstances dictated their reunion. As Wilde says, “It’s strange how the timing of something can make a difference. We always knew it was something we’d come back to. And now we have.”
We should all be grateful for that, as Aorta Songs Pt 1 is a gently invigorating scrub that suggests even better is to come. Watch with interest.
Aorta Songs Pt 1 is out on 19th October through Physical Education Recordings.