light pollution apparitions
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

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When bands are in search of their true music selves, they often make the mistake of being overly ambitious, and as a result, their own hyperactive expectations tend to consume them. Thankfully the band Light Pollution, who hail from the Midwest, have bitten off just enough shoegaze and chillwave to make their debut album Apparitions pleasantly satisfying.

Take, for example, the synth-swirling opener "Good Feelings." At first, it starts off low and barely audible, slowly building itself up with bleeps that fade in and out, and intergalactic buzzes that whiz by. Just when you're about ready to get impatient, beeps and tender string plucks of strings begin charging at you full speed and somehow all the sounds whirlwind epically to ring in the very first line of Apparitions: "Are you going to get through?" begs frontman and main songwriter James Michael Cicero. The song hits psych-pop right on its nose, continuing on a sometimes quirky, yet addictively smooth way. Its chorus may get a little repetitive, but chanting "good, good feelings," has a way of rubbing off on you; it's not long before it feels like you're floating on Cloud Nine.

On "Drunk Kids," one of the oddest of the album's nine songs, Cicero insists that listeners "let go of all that surrounds you," while some kooky arrangements ironically seem to keep these same listeners at bay throughout all of the verses. But the "chill" in "chillwave" kicks in during the chorus, making Light Pollution sound like The Beach Boys if they were on acid, essentially saving the track.

Many of the other songs on the album seem to follow this formula, which should be seen as a good thing. Because despite the fact that each one features a few straggling detours where Light Pollution take a little too much time testing out the waters with quirky effects and off-pacing, the band is able to refocus and deliver delicious lo-fi pop before the track runs out. At times, it's kind of a waiting game with them, but it's well-worth the antsy-ness in the end.-michelle geslani

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MP3: "Good Feelings" (Apparitions)
Light Pollution on Myspace

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