In Lights is a five-piece post-rock band based out of San Jose, CA, formed in 2014. The band consists of two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a violinist. In Lights uses instrumental dynamics to express their emotion and natural beauty based inspirations. The band released their self-titled debut EP in early 2015, and is currently working on their new full length album.
This is a raw, organic post rock treasure that comes rarely in a lifetime. If you are familiar with other post rock or ambient rock bands, this EP has much of the same song structures, moving through soft to loud and upbeat to calm parts, with amazing textures every second, progressing and changing throughout the entire duration.
The difference is this band has shorter songs overall, they are more normal length (except for the 12-minute “Lighthouse”) and they don’t stick on the same melody for too long.
The calm parts of this album are so nostalgic and relaxing, and could really be interpreted as a melancholic relieving. In each song, there is a very sudden switch to loud, powerful themes that they will make you tremble. Especially the one in the opening track, “Wondering” about three minutes and 50 seconds in, it is almost startling and could catch you off guard.
Most of the arrangements on this EP climaxes and calms down as fast as it came, and goes right back into the calm melody before it, then starts slowly progressing towards a new light. The drumming on this EP is amazing and adds so much to the music especially in those changing areas of the songs.
The violin too, adds a very distinctive element to the music, while the guitars are the real backbone and spinal cord of whatever happens within the arrangements.
If you need a real reason to buy this album, listening to the song “Lighthouse” once should do it. I can only say that it has all the best elements of the EP wrapped into one song, with some of the most brilliant melodies tones and textures. Sometimes instrumental music can say so much more then music with vocals and this is a prime example.
If you like Godspeed, Mogwai, Explosions in The Sky or Silver Mount Zion you’re sure to love this band. In Lights are a little less pretentious and a lot more organic sounding some of the above-mentioned collectives. I’m totally seduced by the musical dynamics and quiet rage of this EP which runs the gamut of emotion and tempo.
Sometimes quiet and brooding and other times exploding into walls of crescendos, In Lights literally create images in your head with their complex soundscapes, and they manage to do so without the aid of vocals or lyrics.
While the post-rock genre has been stretched far and wide by the efforts of the bands I have already mentioned previously (including Sigur Ros). It may sound strange that it takes a little 5-piece band from San Jose to put out a release reminding post-rock what it needs: the maximum effort from the band and its instruments, not simply the over-elaborated arrangements outside of it.
And that is what In Lights achieve through their extreme sense of performance dynamics.