Magnet - p.52
"AU is often compared to Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, but a more chiseled and nuanced compositional brain is at the helm....BOTH LIGHTS offers an exhilarating glimpse at pop music's future."
Audio Mixer: Luke Wyland.
Recording information: Portland, OR.
AU's third album finds the duo of Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka continuing in their general vein of studio experimentation and rock-as-container-of-possibilities rather than end-all and be-all, though Both Lights isn't always completely on the money. Starting off an album with a instrumental called "Epic" could certainly be a sort of statement of purpose -- even if the song in question isn't a cover of Faith No More's break-out hit. Yet there's a big trebly noise out of the guitars and agreeably pounding drums as well, not to mention some swelling orchestral arrangements toward the end, so call it a more straightforward version on the idea. It makes the piano-led, moody majesty of "The Veil" another high point, again exchanging singing for sheer sonics and reveling in the sense of something big but warm and inviting about to happen. Yet this contrasts with the following "Solid Gold," also piano-led initially but with vocals that seem to undercut everything rather than build it up, no matter how energetic things get in the arrangement. Similarly, vocals on songs like "Get Alive" mean that amid all the nervous activity, they end up making the link to sounding much more pedestrian, like one too many Arcade Fire wannabes out there. Yet moments like the beamed-in stutter-funk keyboard line on "OJ" add a bit of sass to the slow build of the arrangements, while "Go Slow"'s re-creation of some of Butterfly Child's most free and open moments, with drums exchanged for slow swooning textures and reach, are a lovely highlight. ~ Ned Raggett