Some collaborations are created instantaneously while others percolate for a few years before fully blossoming. In the case of Lights On Moscow, Hazel Wilde of Lanterns On The Lake and Justin Lockey of Editors, Minor Victories, and Mastersystem have worked together for years, but they only made the project official this year. The wait, however, has been worth it, as their debut EP, Aorta Songs – Part 1, is a celestial beauty.
Each of its four songs is stunning in different ways, but together they create an experience that is one part cosmic and another part ethereal. Opener the “Lord Let Me Know” is the EP’s standout and sets the tone. It is the collision of dreams, fantasies, and the wildest of imaginations, and the resulting impact is one of impeccable gorgeousness. The slow pulses of the percussion, the electrified organ, and the slow hum of bass fill the air with stunning textures. However, the familiar lush tones of Wilde’s voice and Lockey’s splendent shoegaze guitar are what take the song into the cosmos.
The duo go lo-fi and low-key on the solemn “I Must Come Clean”. Lockey’s electric guitar chimes through the static and the tambourine to give the track a grizzled yet tantalizing feeling. Wilde’s voice, meanwhile, is soothing yet vulnerable, as she desires to reveal a secret that has eaten away at her soul. They return to the space beyond the clouds on “Like Lovers Often Will”, which sounds like a song made for an iMAX film. Lockey’s guitar fills the air with intergalactic shoegaze and behind it are the crystalline tinges of a xylophone. Wilde’s angelic voice soon joins the fray, and her words are poetic. She compares to exhilaration of being love to that as the start of a new day.
“Like lovers often will
Been tied down to the thrill
Of the sun.
There’s a heart inside of me.
There’s a life out on the breeze
With your sun.”
The record comes to a much-too-soon close with “Spirits Around My Bed”. It represents a change-of-pace for the pair, as the piano-driven number is more Norah Jones than Slowdive. Their stunning radiance, however, remains, but this time the light beams introspectively. As Wilde sings, “Spirits are watching me and I lie here / Watching you”, the band reminds us that music can stimulate a vast array of emotions and feelings. It can take us to the heavens and beyond or through the rabbit hole and into the depths of our own psyches. In just four songs and roughly 13 minutes, Lights On Moscow have taken us to all these places and more, which only sets up Part 2 to be an even more wondrous ride.
Aorta Songs – Part 1 is out on Physical Education Recordings.
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