The White White Lights - Medium Head Boy EP
Record Label: Indierect Records
Release Date: Feb. 27, 2010
Sure must be nice to live in Austin, TX. When the state university's athletic teams aren't kicking tail, the music scene is bristling and bubbling with hordes of talent, promise and professionalism. Waterloo Records or SXSW, ring a bell? But behind that charming facade, there are a host of under-the-radar sonic talents just waiting to be discovered. And out of all of them, few are as deserving as The White White Lights.
Fronted by the highly charismatic Jenny Gacy, the quartet spins together a manic fireball of delicate love songs, eerie ghost ballads and hot-blooded rockers. Guided by the nimble production of Deluxe Peroux, this six song EP bursts out of the speakers with a swagger, confidence and charm that's as infectious as it is intoxicating. Opener "Space Invaders," is a maelstrom of propulsive guitars, thick bass and bombastic drumming. For all its latent energy and pristine execution, the song's secret ingredient is a scorching riff laid down in the song's latter half by lead guitarist Peroux.
There's even more attitude on the foot stomp of "Heresy" a crackling juggernaut that finds Gacy bleating for sanity and self-preservation. There's a power and passion at work here that's undeniably authentic and raw. Considering that this is just their debut makes these first two tracks so much more impressive. The effortlessness of the band's skill is startling and dramatic. But for all its power, the disc's latter half is probably it's most potent. Shifting the attitude and energy to something more inverted and introspective, the steely calm of "It's Cold Here in Japan," presents a cerebral, melancholic and utterly captivating tale of aimless wandering and confusion. Anchored by poetic verses and a guttural sensitivity, "Japan," is backed by a spartan landscape highlighted by bells, chimes and twinkling piano.
On the jaunty, synth-accented "Doctor, Doctor," Gacy once again pleads for her sanity and self-preservation, but this time it's an argument against a medic and not a jilted lover. Fueled by razor-sharp guitars and plinky piano, this ghost tale is a panged and forthright confession of how nightmares can sometimes be all-consuming and alarming. Proving her mettle some more, Gacy takes the shape of a sultry and seductive lounge singer on the caustic vignette "My Evangeline," a brutally honest yarn about a girl who uses her vanity for all the wrong reasons. A searing guitar solo in the song's latter half cements this as one of the disc's towering moments.
And then, almost predictably, the EP ends with the airy ballad "Devil's Son" replete with ethereal piano, ambient noises and Gacy's delicate timbre. Once again, she sings about a tortured romance and restless nights in a way that's far too captivating to ignore. While its easy to sing about such dark subjects, passing it off as believable is an entirely different story. Gacy seems to understand that. She finds a way to take her torture and expose it without coming across as aggrandizing or meretricious. That simple fact is what makes the Medium Head Boy EP so powerful. Dripping with unrivaled maturity, armfuls of sexuality and a wide range of sonic styles, The White White Lights are most definitely a band an up-and-comer in 2010 and beyond. Talent this good should not be confined to just Austin.