It’s been a long wait, but Want has finally arrived. I interviewed these guys in August of 2011 and we were talking about Want all the way back then. I naively asserted in that discussion with Gavin and Greg that we’d be laying ears on this LP relatively soon after that interview. I was definitely wrong in my estimate, but hey, they made good on their promise and here we are. What to say about an album you waited nearly two full years for?
I mean we’re not talking like this was a My Bloody Valentine-style chasm between releases, but it was significant. It’s hard for things to live up to hopes you’ve pinned on them for a long period of time. It seems like the longer things go without being seen the more mythic they become, leading to the inevitable letdown.
Instead, Want feels just like I thought it would back then. That favorite pair of jeans, that faded out band shirt you bought from the merch table ten years ago, your favorite recliner…it’s kind of like going home. Cynical blogger me half-expected to hear “See Clear”, “And It Comes And Goes”, and the other well known singles from the band’s catalog and not be all that interested. God knows I listened to some of them more times than I’d be obliged to admit, but when I heard these slightly tweaked versions included among the new tracks on Want it just felt good.
There’s some serious highlights to be found here for the album fan and the MP3 surfer alike. “Not Today”, which I already covered, begins with vocalist Greg Nelson mentioning “hasty getaways”. I couldn’t describe the track any more succinctly than that. It’s got some nice clean guitars – quick, light, and fun. The new-ish version of “See Clear” takes an old Sirens of Decay classic and really makes it just a teeny bit better. The guitars sound a bit clearer, and it really struck me as I listened how much this song is Lightouts and what they mean to me as a listener. The amount of fuzz in “Only The Smart Ones” feels perfectly placed behind the more pop-driven “Dress Shop”. They form a mid album yin and yang, both showcasing the group’s ability to provide something memorable from completely different styles.
If you ever thought Lightouts would never shake the anthemic title, allow me to introduce you to “Want” – the title track of this LP. For my money this is the star of the show. As I said in my review…it is very easy to see why this is the title of their album.
“Want” showcases a softer, nuanced sound that remains as irresistibly catchy as “See Clear” and “And It Comes And Goes” ever were.
If “See Clear” is what I recall whenever I hear the name Lightouts, then “Want”, in the space of a single track, epitomizes where they’ve come from (that Pixies-esque intro) and how far they’re going (everything else). It shatters the glass ceiling I put them under.
The Gowanus group wrap up the LP with an old favorite in “And It Comes And Goes”, followed by the most intriguing track on Want, “Spider Lily”. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. There are moments when I’m all in, such as the guitar theatrics within each chorus, but I’ve yet to settle on an opinion for the general structure of the track. Suffice to say, if you thought “Want” and other tracks like it were a different direction…well, this would be a different direction off of that direction.
I wrote about Lightouts for the first time in July 2011. This very site you were reading was on Tumblr and was still months shy of being a year old. I feel a bit like Sirens and Lightouts kind of grew up together. That’s a bit of a misleading statement, though. No matter how much this blog might grow…while Lightouts play shows at SXSW, with Entourage alums, and elsewhere around the country, I sit here on my laptop and listen to their music.
I can’t say I’d really have it any other way. They deserve that success, and they deserve a chance to hook you with their music.
HASTY GETAWAYS…to iTunes to grab your own copy. You could also stream it below.
Oh, and it’s LIGHTouts, not LIGHTSout. Don’t worry, they get that all the time. I even referred to them as LIGHouts a time or two myself. Maybe even in this piece…