New Music: Light Club – Youth Is Fading

In amongst the days and places that I’ve been listening to this, the debut from Portland, Oregon’s Light Club, I think I’ve found the perfect accompaniment: bright early autumn sunshine augmented by a strong, fresh breeze.

I’m sat in my back garden, watching fragments of cloud cruising across the heart-stirringly blue sky, with washing snapping on the line. Gabe Mouer’s clear, optimistic vocals and sweet indie-pop tunes can only augment the feelings of calm and rejuvenation flooding my senses.

There’s a resolutely 80s vibe to the music – it seems to me it’s the sheen of the synthesisers, and the crispness of the percussion which sounds like something you might have found on ‘Whitney’ or ‘True Blue’. Mouer’s guitars shimmer in the background, much less central to the action than when he’s playing lead for Altadore. They add sparks of funkiness (‘Youth’), chime reinforcingly under breathless refusals to be beaten by life’s drudgeries (‘What We Found’), and provide melancholy undercurrents in ‘Hold Tight’ (“you and I are nothing more than our chemicals”). Elsewhere the drums are punchy and the synths uplifting and dance-able (‘Get You Out’).  This is a potential soundtrack to getting ready for going out, even where the lyrical content is bittersweet before its years (“our youth is fading now”).

If there are criticisms to be made, they are that ‘Sound’ is a slight weak link in the middle of the EP (the melody is a touch obvious, and it can feel half-hearted at points) and that ‘Youth is Fading’ is a little samey, whether in terms of atmosphere, melody or lyrical content – once or twice I found myself unable to tell which song I was listening to. Not much of a nit to pick, is it ? I suppose you could say that consistency is only to be valued when the quality is high, when the artist has hit upon something you like.  Well that’s the case here.  It must be nice to have a side-project so exuberant, so liberating.  We look forward to more of this.

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