Lightning Bug - Lightning Bug EP
Record Label: None
Release Date: October 2008
It's not often that you hear music that sounds unlike anything you've ever heard before; however, I guess that's what happens when a band's list of influences is as diverse as Lightning Bug's. The as-yet-unsigned Philadelphia quintet call upon elements perfected by the likes of Modest Mouse, Uncle Tupelo, Weezer and The Talking Heads on their five-track debut EP, and when that fusion of sound flows from speaker to ear, it sounds familiar and vastly different all at once. That's a special thing.
As soon as the EP's opener, "All Good Sinners," sprang to life, I knew I was in for a fun ride. Laughter over the bangs of a tambourine gave way to an upbeat guitar intro, and throughout this foot-tapping ode to succumbing to lust for a night ("How can loving be a sin tonight?"), the music seems caught somewhere between an indie rock jam and a folky country tune. That may not seem too awesome in print, but it sounds pretty damn good - plus, the chorus will get stuck in your head.
Standout "Baby Blue and Stella Dependently Arising" begins with an enthralling instrumental which lasts for nearly two minutes. By the time the vocals kicked in, I was nodding my head, eyes closed and in a trancelike state, overcome with the beauty of the music. Soon the track falls into a relaxed verse that defies the anxiety of the lyrics, depicting a young boy discovering mortality in the form of a robin's egg. When the chorus picks up, the intensity shows through and it's impossible to stop listening. Next is "Airborne Bear," which is an anthem for anyone hitting the road. It has an infectious synth line and drumbeat that deserves to be pumping out of open car windows on the highway.
The EP's closer, "Tiny Machine Fingers," is an absolutely beautiful tune. With a bassline pulsing like a heartbeat, lead singer Jesse Lindsey speaks of finding home and becoming a man through brotherhood and the awe of nature.
Vocally, the record is stellar. Lindsey's voice is honest and emotional, and it doesn't hurt that he hits all the right notes. On a similar note, this is a five-track lyrical goldmine. Cleverness and insightfulness isn't limited to individual lines, but shines in entire songs. I was smiling thirty seconds into the first track and by the end of the last, I was gazing off into the distance with nostalgia.
This is a record that, while short, seems to have something that can appeal to anyone. The music is there, the lyrics are there, and the talent is there. Lightning Bug hasn't gotten enough recognition outside of Philly, and it's time the word was spread.
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