Black Light White Light – ‘Horizons’ reviewed

❉ This is modern day psychedelia that gives Tame Impala a run for its money, writes Eoghan Lyng.

“This is a must-buy for all collectivists, those psych-centred, those hungry for the raw and earthy… This is a solid psychic record, mountainous drums, cavernous vocals through speakers, backward moog moodles, all styled on one beautiful package”

It’s hip to use the studio as an instrument. Rain, perhaps the Beatles greatest B-side, came from rewinding tapes to produce that quasi effect.  Led Zeppelin came up with the swampy effects for When the Levee Breaks inside their studio. Jeff Lynne and Eric Stewart have always favoured the control booth to the stadium stage, even Noel Gallagher has found time for studio creativity, his third solo venture (his most interesting at that) was entirely written in David Holmes’ hub. And with Black Light White Light’s third venture, they too have turned to the studio for an extra dimension- and it’s wonderfully slick and sexy!

Their third outing, Horizons differs in approach from the band’s first two efforts; this time, it is less about the live feel, more about the lysergic sounds only a studio atmosphere can bring about. It’s a worthy change in direction, their most accomplished work yet.

Lead single Teenage Dream shares more than just a title with the Marc Bolan opus; this feels like a Marc Bolan opus, one with magnetic drum machines and illuminous keyboards. This is a song that widens in scope and sound; think Kashmir, think Airbag, even Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me- that’s the magnitude of the sound here. Black Light White Light cite film an influence on their sound; no kidding! Glam rock lives on!

This isn’t a rock record in the Arctic Monkeys style that emulates the sounds and vibes of a live gig; this is a solid psychic record, mountainous drums, cavernous vocals through speakers, backward moog moodles, all styled on one beautiful package. This album wears its influences on its sleeve (the band credit The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride as focus points, while Martin Ejlertsen’s voice has a seismic vulnerability a la George Harrison), but this is modern day psychedelia that gives Tame Impala a run for its money. Forward Backwards grows from acoustic White Album ditty to bona fide celestial monster. Synth led Tu Connais L’Amour has slick Europop groove, perhaps a France Gall track for the dance floor. Illusions: Emotions crashes through the speakers, Roger Tayloresque drums chasing funk bass majesty; a glorious monster.

It’s not all big and grandiose. Solstice is rooted in blues tunings that evokes the early White Stripes records, King Kong is a sexy indie bar contender (it has that pointed hip-hop beat, that slick fuzz guitar lick) and afro-beat The Fools is that bit more Fela Kuti than Phil Spector (it also has some sizzling lyrics: Ejlertsen reflects “everywhere I go, I can hear them talking/Soon I’ll let everyone know” sang with the right combination of assurance and rock n’ roll divinity). Horizons sounds like the celestial sky-scaping it sings about – not bad for a pop song, eh?

This is a must-buy for all collectivists, those psych-centred, those hungry for the raw and earthy. There’s not a dud on this album, a rare feat rarely accomplished since OK Computer hit the shelves in the late nineties.


Black Light White Light ‘Horizons’ out March 23 via Forward Backwards Recordings

Black Light White Light: Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

 Eoghan Lyng is a writer, part-time English teacher and full-time lover of life. 

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