Waking Lights - Songs for Jo
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Northern New Jersey’s Waking Lights brighten soft rock’s foliage with melodic etchings that contour lead singer Matthew Maroulakos‘ vocals like well form-fitted figures. The six-piece’s wood-stove of lo-fi rock with logs of classic piano and chamber strings make for majestic assemblies in their latest EP, Songs for Jo. The wispy strokes of cellist/backup vocalist Jodi Mozeika and violinist Nicole Scorsone move through the air like ghostly breezes as keyboardist Tommy Maroulakos adds complementing knolls, and raffs of rhythmic hooks performed by drummer Dana LaMarca and bassist Kyle McCammon hold up the roving motions firmly. Waking Lights prove that they are a band that knows what works for them, and they make every song sound perfect in their hands.
The rhythmic strokes of the opening track “Sharks” show similarities to Phantom Planet’s tune “California,” made famous as the theme song for the now defunct TV show The OC. The soft babbling brooks and gently folksy rivets are aurally soothing, which then move into more country-folk shadings along “Ice Cream and Vicodin” hemmed by charming, clunky percussive beats as Matthew endorses, “Don’t break your neck looking back / These words have sat in my chest / Like to believe we’ve got it all figured out / Nothing here’s meant to last.” His words offer advice about living while his voice shows a crossbreed between the bluesy vocal textures of The Last Goodnight’s Kurtis John and the beefy guttural register of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. He brings out Tyler’s funky stylish rock in “Sweet Virginia” and what a great song this is, embanked by soulfully splayed vocals and bluesy grooves. “Comfortably Swollen” is more angelic sounding with light twitters and twirls in the strings and guitar chords, contrasting the springy beats and winding strings which are joined by leaping keys along “Nothing Here for Me” as Matthew instills, “I’m still chasing dreams / Cuz there’s nothing here for me.” The final track “Down in the Valley” is swarmed in wispy acoustics and orchestral swirls as Matthew’s vocals lumber through the somber mood of the song with words like, “Fall in love just to break your heart.”
Waking Lights new release Songs for Jo is a pocket full of sunshine when the skies appear dark and gloomy. It is an album that is middle of the road making it able to reach people of different creeds, nationalities, and music genres. It is an album that joins the world together as the band finds a middle ground where everyone can meet.
A little harsh, but I'm inclined to agree; the writing's a mess. It's hard to use words to describe music, but the solution is definitely not to use as many metaphors, adjectives, and interesting words as possible.