Monday, December 15, 2008

The Lights, Fluorescent- Neoteny EP

Rating: 8.5
Released: Jan. 19, 2008

Charlotte, of late, doesn't have a reputation as a hotbed of modern rock.

Perceptions can be, well, misleading.

Charlotte' s The Lights, Fluorescent (note the sneaky comma!) are getting some buzz, and deservedly so.

They stick out like a bent nail in Charlotte's retro scene, partly because they rock unapologetically, and because singer Erika Blatnik sounds like the second coming of PJ Harvey.

Blistering lead vocals, torrential guitars and a jackhammer rhythm section make for a winding listen.

The band fuses melodic and math rock for theatricality, employing complex time signatures, sudden stops and angular guitar lines.

A debut EP, Neoteny, has been out for almost a year, featuring at least one certified big winner in "So Sweet."

Halfway through the hard-charging track, members duet for a melodic interlude a la the Pixies.

The harmonizing guitars, courtesy of Andre Francois and Craig Friday, sound like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and Queen with 'roid rage.

The band sounds best when Blatnik teams with Friday and limber bassist Robby Hartis for heavy AM gold.

Most startling might be that The Lights, Fluorescent only took two days to record this lightning bolt.

Blatnik started her ascension playing acoustic shows in Charlotte's NoDA arts district. Here's hoping she, and her fantastic band, find a niche and a record company.

The band's sound translates well live. Catch them at Charlotte's Tremont Music Hall Tuesday.

If you're looking for more hot Charlotte acts, check out Yardwork too.


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