Switched on – Peaking Lights: E S C A P E (Dekmantel)

What’s the story?

Peaking Lights are easy to take for granted – but when you delve into their recent output you realise how remarkably consistent it has been. Since moving further into the mainstream with the rather wonderful 936 album of 2011, the husband and wife duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis gained momentum with Lucifer, Cosmic Logic and The Fifth State of Consciousness, all exploiting their talents for grooves infused with dub and psychedelia.

The title of E S C A P E is a pertinent one for their sixth album proper, since they have moved label (to Amsterdam’s Dekmantel imprint) and celebrate a return to the long-playing format for the first time in three years.

What’s the music like?

Put it this way, fans will be happy. Coyes and Dunis have been remarkably consistent in the quality of their album releases and E S C A P E is no different.

There is more upfront activity though, suggesting they have been energised by their new surroundings. Dharma has beguiling vocals but the beat is relatively fast and the psychedelic leanings are heavy – in a good way. Likewise for Soft Escape (Moonman Mix), with some heavy distortion, and Innerterrestrial with its fat bass line, while Traffic adds a punchy guitar. Oddly, the enchanting vocal Dunis brings to The Dammed has quite a similar melodic profile to R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion, with appealing block synths that blossom into a glorious wall of sound.

It is one of many moments for the listener to lose themselves in, as are Peace and Dreams – the ideal counterparts to the dark world climate in the last few weeks, with soothing textures. Meanwhile The Caves has more than a touch of Stranger Things with its bubbling synth lines. Perhaps the most reassuring sentiment of all is saved for last, the lush Change Always Comes devoid of beats and left for Dunis to star, part of a multilayered dreamscape.

Does it all work?

Yes. There is no need to change their approach, yet the music still sounds fresh, and there is a generously filled album here. Peaking Lights never re-tread the same ground on their music, yet they hit a familiar and very welcome combination of relaxation and stimulation unerringly.

Is it recommended?

Yes. A new Peaking Lights album is just what we need in these troubled times, drawing a veil over the world outside and allowing us to dabble with some positively blissful vibes for once.



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