Album Review:

Slow Lights : Slow Lights EP

Written by Elise Olmstead

Slow Lights, from Baltimore, MD, creates their sound based on inspirations from many genres including indie, soul, rock, and jam.  Their variety is apparent in their latest EP, Slow Lights EP, where the songs vary in genre from one to the next.  This only serves to accentuate their expertise in more style than one.

The six piece band includes the multi-talented Asa Kurland on vocals, guitar, and bass; Jess Baker on guitar; David Rosenfeld on drums and vocals; Bailey Straw on bass; Kim Gravatt on flute and saxophone; Steven Bailey on trumpet and vocals.  The wood and brass instruments do not appear on every track, though what rings true is Asa’s vocals.  The first track, “Slums,” in fact, brought me into sweet reverie of a vocally driven indie band like Mae or Copeland.

“Lately” is one of my favorite tracks, meandering casually through a soulful guitar riff and vocals singing “lately I’ve been talking to myself, think about happiness, somewhere else.” The guitar definitely gets a chance to solo and shine in this song, showcasing a blues guitar style that sets the tone for the entire song.   “Hollywood,” which urges us to “dance, move your body,” does exactly that, roping us in with sultry vocals and stringing our feet with puppet strings into a dancing groove, accentuating our pleasure with grooving guitar.  “Wicked Bones” is short and sweet, keeping the groove groovy, picking up the tempo and letting some brass instruments shine.  The next track “The Light,” is a perfect example of teasing the audience with a soulful vocal chorus followed by a fast-paced instrumental chorus.  I love when a song will make you sway, then all of a sudden picks you up into a toe-tapping bliss.

The next three songs are recorded live, which inspiringly differ very little from the recorded songs in quality and musicianship.  In our jam scene, live performance is the flagship of a successful band.  Again groovy guitar tunes prevail, but I love the wobbly electronic influence of “Rusty Tambourine.” The preceding track, “Steve Song,” has the allure of a throwback indie song, heartfelt yet still characteristically new.  The final track “Something Good,” takes us to a crowded room filled with the sounds of an up-tempo drum beat and harmonizing vocals, sweet and soft, yet happy and tantalizing all the same.

If this EP is a glimpse into what Slow Lights has to offer, then I’m drooling at the mouth waiting for their full length album.  I can’t remember the last time a local band’s EP has grabbed a hold of me in the same manner as Slow Lights has, always nagging at the edge of my mind to be played over and over again.  I can’t wait to see what else comes from this unique and stylish band.