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THE LIGHTS – Diamonds And Dirt (CD, Wäntage USA)

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Simon Minter

New year, no relenting in the fanboy enthusiasm for everything Wäntage USA hurl out my way. The Lights, for all their twisted melodic pop sensibilities, can’t help but screw everything around with a knife-twist in every track, with a self-effacing need to psych out at the beginning, middle or end. The twisted new wave sensibilities of the Fall intermingle with a gently crazed take on late ’60s garage stomp, and the result is never far from being steamrollered by waves of feedback and noise.

The album opens with a downhearted drone arc of misery, but it lets more light in as time goes by. There are caveman-thrown rocks of melody all over the songs here, but the glorious thing about The Lights is their inability not to chuck in a cement mixer of chaos at the most inappropriate time. They never, however, lose grip of a fundamental danceability, and tracks like White Harlem and Up the Stairs, Out the Window reveal clicking rhythms that recall Q And Not U or early Liars. It’s this paradoxical combination of elements that attracts me to this music. ‘Diamonds And Dirt’ album reads like a mixtape of essentials garage/indie/rock from the past thirty years – but it’s a physically mixed-up tape, rather than a tape of mixed tunes.

This isn’t an album like no other; it’s a distillation and extension of the best albums by (at least) Melvins, Nirvana, Gang Of Four, The Fall, Devo. But which are the best albums? Take a listen and make up your own mind.

Wäntage USA
The Lights

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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