Peaking Lights – 936 (2011)

As a youth in the 90s there was a strange obsession with an orange flavoured drink that shall go nameless (but amateur sleuths may deduce it from it’s lame nickname of ‘Sunny D’). Anyways, there were rumours that some schoolkids in Britain had drunk so much of the it they were turning yellow due to all the E Numbers in the bloody stuff.

The point of this anecdote is that 936 (by husband and wife duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis) is like chugging a huge bottle of E numbers then sitting in the sun with a dripping ice cream. This album is bright, colourful and resplendent. 936 is an album of psychedelic dub, intricately and exquisitely pieced together. It’s happy psychedelia for a summer’s day. The production is staggering, the music feels organic, layered and rich. In some ways it recalls the 90s Beastie Boys albums with endless treasures buried deep in a song that you only spot five years later. The melodies are simple which works in the albums favour. There is a childlike thrill in the making of music. Vocals are treated to give a dreamy, ambient texture. Part of me wishes me this is what a collaboration between Jah Wobble and Vini Reilly would sound like. If you could fit both their ego’s in the same room…

‘Synthy’ starts the ball rolling with tinkling, incandescent chimes not a million miles from the birdsong that heralds The Return Of The Durutti Column. ‘All The Sun That Shines’ starts the album properly with a hazy, blissful elan, gliding along a disco albatross (Disco Albatross would be an excellent Peaking Lights album title incidentally). ‘Amazing and Wonderful’ offers starker bass and insistent drums, verging on dance territory, but with that now trademark jangling sheen. ‘Birds Of Paradise Dub Version’ continues the journey, as 936 progresses the dub comes more to the forefront, here with scratchy Slits guitar. ‘Hey Sparrow’ has a lilt like ‘Janet, Johnny + James’ by The Fall and it’s lighter lullaby tone offers respite from the low end rumble. ‘Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)’ may come in useful if you like your bass deep enough to resonate concrete. ‘Marshmellow Yellow’ offers more sparkling hues which unwinds like in a sleepy, hypnotic caress. ‘Summertime’ sounds like a glitching kids show theme and the nostalgia of a thousand childhood days in the sun.

The overall sensation is glorious. It must be what David Attenborough feels when he is in the rainforest and sees birds of paradise in the trees flapping around his noggin. Imagine if this bird played dub basslines. That’s 936.

Curious? Here’s ‘Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)’…


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