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Lightfoils-Hierarchy (Saint Marie Records)

Hierarchy album art from Lightfoils
11 July 2014

This Chicago five piece band is getting a lot of well deserved attention. When you trot out sultry vocals (Jane Zabeth) over a fuzzed out blissfest, it’s understandable. Think My Bloody Valentine with a side order of Lush, and you get an inkling of what to expect. I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by comparing them to bands you’ve never heard of. They are just one of many shoegaze bands on the scene, so how do they make themselves stand out? With memorable tunes and a good media presence. Trust me, that’s important in these digital days where anyone can slap a photo and a stream online and be in business. It becomes more meaningful when you have a physical product in your hands, like the CD Saint Marie Records so kindly sent me. Popmatters calls them ‘neo-shoegaze’, which is just another label in a flood of music labels critics like to trot out. But wait, I am one of those critics : ) Well, OK, how’s this? They are a kickin’ rock band with a heavy psych vibe on top of wispy vocals. Just listen to the groove on “Last One” and man, those heavy drums! And what about “Addict” with its machine gun rhythm section? Makes me think they must be one helluva live band!

“Diastolic” is the single, and the video that is being streamed from numerous sites, and that opening bass and drums sounds like a Mew outtake. That’s right, Mew, a modern prog act. See why labels make no sense here? There are a lot of different styles happening, so consider these band mentions as touchstones only. I prefer “Mock Sun” over “Diastolic”, perhaps for its lovely nod to (at least in my mind) The Pale Saints. These guys mix and match all these shadings, and how well they mash it up. “Passage” peels back the layers of reverb and lets you dive in a bit closer to its sonic heart, but Jane emotes from a great distance, and you’re no closer to figuring out what it all means. That continues throughout this release, and what a fine debut it is. Very good work from yet another great Chicago band.