I like bands that make moody music out of guitars. In fact, you can kind of sum up most of the past 14 years of EvilSponge with that sentence.
Fortunately for me, moody guitar music is something that keeps being made. Consider Native Lights. This act is a collaboration from two long-standing Post-rockers: Bryce Chambers of Ester Drang and Johnathon Ford of Unwed Sailor. They are both from Oklahoma and Ford plays bass while Chambers is on guitar and vocals. Apparently they are a three-piece now, but i canít find any information on who they hired to play drums. No one ever thinks about the drummer's feelings...
The record reminds me a lot of something by Film School. This is lush pop with a male voice mopey and droning lost in a mix of chiming, swirling guitar. It's old-school shoegaze that is catchy and fun. Exactly the kind of thing i enjoy, and i think that Native Lights does a really great job with this sound.
The record starts off with a bluesy riff quickly joined by drums and voice for Black Wall Street. The song grinds along noisily, the rhythm thrusting the record ahead. A good start.
The next song is Blue Star, which is destined to be a shoegaze classic. The guitar here is distorted and echoed, the notes bent and reverbing, with Chambersí voice all dusky and lost in the mix. The vocal style and the slow distorted guitar notes remind me of Tamaryn, especially 2012's Tender New Signs. It's a really awesome tune.
Sun Tzu builds to a nice frenzy, the voice a whining drone under some great guitar work and intense rhythm. I like the mopeyness in Chambersí voice here, as well as the epic way in which the guitar seems to crash in layers. On La Rosa the guitar makes that plinking sound that The Edge used so well on those early U2 records. It's a lovely tune that really soars on the choruses.
White Elephant is a really beautiful tune that starts slowly, the guitar in layers that tinkle and grind while his voice soars. Ruins is a little more nervous of a tune, and here Ford's bas steps forward, laying down a nice groove that compliments Chambersí distorted playing nicely. The interplay between them really shines on this song.
The creepily named Abuse Arcade is as eerie as the title implies. The guitar is e-bowed and the percussion is scattered. The whole song ebbs and flows nervously. The record ends strongly with Stalin's Organs, a driving bass riff reminiscent of the bluesy riff that opened the record, bringing it all back full circle. The guitar tinkles over this, adding a nice gentle layer to the harsh percussion.
A really solid shoegaze pop record. Chambers, Ford, and the mystery drummer have done a fine job.