By JackBrighter Wounds may have a beating heart, and reflect universal themes, but these are often shrouded by an ever shifting mesh of inter-locking and jagged sonic sheaves. Repeat listens are required, and expected. This is a heady set of songs, no two ways about it. This is not a direct appeal to pop enjoyment. This is what they call the scenic route.
Son Lux are one of those bands that will never have their Ed Sullivan moment. They’re too niche, too weird, and refuse to pander for a moment. The attitude that cerebral indie music is built on, and they continue to espouse. ‘Forty Screams’ is the opener, and also the best track, though it’s essentially an interlude.
‘Forty Screams’ summarises everything thrilling about the project. Heavily disorted guitar spindles evoke a Western twang, whilst a swelling loop and emotive strings frame the central lyric: “I had wanted a better world for you.” Fatherhood is a theme that underlines Brighter Wounds.
Ryan Lott has a weathered, haunting voice. It is absolutely beautiful. Jeff Buckley, and the Prophet of Regret, often at once. This is what gives Son Lux their unique and personal texture, raising them above the ornate Amon Tobin soundscapes they languish in.
‘All Directions’ begins with a percussive snippet like cutlery falling to the ground, and extrapolates that into one of the most stirring songs on the record. These songs are ornate and dizzying, but they germinate from the tiniest details.
Son Lux albums have always had a cut and paste quality to them. Rhythms and loops pop in and out unceremoniously. Keys and melodies appear then vanish as if yanked from the wall. It can sometimes hurt the flow, as it does on the distorted groove of ‘The Fool You Need’. Some will see it is a quirk, but it’s often a defect.
No break from the past, nor distracting divergence. Brighter Wounds is a continuation of Son Lux’s journey into the outer reaches of experimental pop, a path beaten by Yeasayer and Passion Pit. That they continue to do so with poise and ambition is a blessing. Brighter Wounds can frustrate, but more often it delights.