Lights & Caves - In Satori
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: August 24, 2013
It takes some time to fully appreciate the release (Album? EP? At seven songs and 26 minutes, I'm inclined to say the latter.) that Lights & Caves have created in In Satori. This debut is smash-packed with midtempo indie-rock tunes done right, and if these songs don't capture your full attention right away, make sure you give them a chance to digest; once you do, you may be impressed by one of the best releases this year and the one that should turn their influences into peers.
Opening number "Manchy" serves as a proper introduction to the record, blending a soft progression of guitar and vocals very much reminiscent of All Get Out. There's a certain build-up to each of these songs, a hint towards something bigger, and "Manchy" prepares you for that as it carefully chooses its words ("Now wait a second/I never meant to waste your time" and the phrase "the same mistakes that put my father in his grave" both prove to be themes that appear throughout the album, as seen in following tracks "Tragedy is No Friend of Mine" and single "Carry Me Home"). The former showcases a knack for mood, with the instrumentation taking center stage as the bridge incorporates a string section within it's pristine guitar-work and drumming. The latter is one hell of a single, priming the best of every aspect of the band (including simple lyricism that proves metaphors aren't always necessary to create a meaningful tune) into one summer-soaked jam that explodes alongside the band's single gang vocal "Woah!".
While a little experimentation could do the band well, In Satori makes for a cohesive listen, and when it does dabble with different sonic textures, the results are wildly successful. Both "Run" and the title track are slower affairs that carry the emotional depth to balance their more upbeat predecessors. "Run" even grows darker than expected, rearing up to something aggressive by it's conclusion, a rare moment throughout this disc that would be interesting to hear in future releases. If you want to hear something that really separates itself from the pack, look no further than closing cut "To The Solipsist". Distortion carries the opening guitar-lines and vocals, slightly in vein of Manchester Orchestra's last closing number, "Leaky Breaks", with lyricism just as sharp. The song carries on before blooming into the kind of hopeful ending that is really what gives In Satori so much replay value; what started as an indie EP your friends might off-handedly best describe as "nice", completely spirals into its own individual collection of sounds.
Lights & Caves have unexpectedly created something different. As I type this, I am greatly impressed by the band's ability to create songs meant to capture a certain place where you heard them first; these songs are the fall day I find myself on, moving into my first dorm room. They're the first train ride you take with a loved one. They're the brisk days on which you find yourself noticing and appreciating the fresh air in your lungs. Really, these songs are anything you want to be, and that is what makes Lights & Caves entirely worth our attention.