San Francisco's Evening Lights debut on Shelflife with a 5 track cd ep, entitled "Landscape." This new group features members of The Autocollants, Monterey, In A Day, and Laura Watling.
Like ocean tides, each Evening Lights song weaves through several tempos -- building a sound and letting it recede, only to have it swell up again. Shoegaze guitar riffs plunge straight into jangly pop chords to create a dreamy, modern feel. Layers of reverb and delay float over two luscious female vocals sunken into a deep backbeat of melodic bass, noise, and fuzz.
Like the best relationships, Evening Lights' music reflects both the influences of each band member and that place in the middle where it all blends and forms something greater than the sum of its parts.
Praise for Evening Lights:
"Evening Lights is a wonderful little of gem of a band. Turns out Rice-a-Roni is not the only treat in San Francisco, as this band plays infectiously catchy pop tunes in the vein of bands like The Sundays and The Innocence Mission. The band utilizes guitars that chime and intertwine and has a knack for subtle ambience. The vocals are sugar sweet and yet remain relaxed and calm. This is the perfect music for a lazy fall afternoon along side a glass of ice tea. Landscape is a five-song EP that gives the listener a brief taste of this lovely form of intricate pop.
Things start off amazing with "Telephones & Traffic Lights," which is beyond catchy and filled with lovely hooks. Adding to the brilliance is a nice layer of xylophones that give it such a relaxed feel. The vocals are gentle, yet sung in such a positive and uplifting way; the chorus of this song will be stuck in my head for days. The song as a whole remains simple, but it works really well. "Landscapes" is filled with lush acoustic guitars and serene angelic vocals. The quintet throws in a lot of chiming guitars as well, alongside an almost jazzy element that is quite relaxing. The music flows with the grace of a falling feather.
"Phedra" has some nice use of guitars with tremolo effects and is a straightforward pop song. While not as bright as earlier moments on the record, the song is nice enough. "In a Day" recalls some of the moments of The Rocking Horse Winner and features some nice guitar work alongside some nice vocal harmonies. While not nearly as the first track on the record, it still remains enjoyable. "Starless" closes thing out with the most laid-back number on the record. Gentle guitars flow smoothly like running water and continue the group's calming effect. The chorus remains catchy as well and, backed by intricate little clean guitar parts with nice riffs, it ends things nicely.
While Evening Lights is certainly nothing innovative or genre-bending, the band does what it does very well. If you're feeling a bit down lately and need a quick pick-me up, a stress reliever, and a serene sense of relaxation, Landscape makes for the perfect medicine." - Jeff C. (www.adequacy.net) "Pop music from veteran pop kids, you really shouldn't expect less than their personal best, right? Evening Lights do have a long history of making twee indiepop, and this supergroup certainly has a lot to offer. Featuring members of Autocollants, you expect good popness, and good popness is exactly what they have to give. Like a Saturday afternoon playlist on a hip college radio, the music here is mellow, gritty and pretty, changing up a little bit with each song, yet retaining that lovely pop style.
On Landscape , Evening Lights waste zero time defining their sound. The first song "Telephones & Traffic Lights," they set a mellow mood, complete with lush background (or Lush background, but let's not be snarky), to-die-for girl harmonies (courtesy of Ann and Laura Walting) and some pretty fine synthy atmospheric backing. They pull out the jingle-jangle guitars on "Landscape," recalling the best moments of The Sundays. "Pheadra" is mid-90s indie-rock at its finest, reminding me of Velocity Girl. It's not the strongest moment of the EP, but this weak moment is still stronger than other bands who try twice as hard as Evening Lights, so what does that tell you? "In A Day" and "Starless" simply back up the previously defined styles, all to nice effect.
As a special bonus, they rush recorded six other songs shortly before their first national tour, and put them together on a limited edition cd-rom. It's kind of annoying, but I wish they'd waited--these songs are excellent! Though the six songs on this EP are all rough around the edges, there's a certain magical charm within the roughness that makes these shine like jewels. Much like the well-circulated Lush demo-tape, these songs have an urgency that their studio releases don't have. True, a little more polish on songs like "Make Yours Like Mine" and "On & On" would give any of the songs on Landscape a run for their money. In rough form, these songs put to shame the lesser moments of Landscapes --and that's saying a lot . They sound like they've had too much coffee before the session, though, and that makes it nice as well. (This isn't a live concert--as you might think from looking at the sleeve--but this is a live studio recording.) I wonder if these songs will appear on their upcoming full length? I hope not, because these songs are perfect as-is.
Evening Lights? Keep an eye out for 'em. You'll be glad you did." - Joseph Kyle (Mundane Sounds) "This EP is very Shelflife. That comes as no surprise when you see this band features members of such acts as the Autocollants and Laura Watling. At first it reared itself upon me like a great white twee shark to engulf me in shoegaze somnambulism. However, the chance to hear it more often found it becoming more accessible. Is that due to the fact that I type this a day after surgery and my left hand is bandaged (again) and while not melancholy I am somewhat calm and subdued. (for once) This record is very gentle, and one could say actually pretty. It certainly does remind me of the old shelflife comp CD "You Make Me Smile" as it is quintessentially that label. My favorite on here is probably the skimming and shimmery pop gem In A Day which reminds me a bit of the Brittle Stars meets the Autocollants. Nothing really ground breaking here, but it's all quite nice and a solid effort which I find quite appealing today. I'll give it a solid 9 with a bullet and one to watch for the future." - John Kruczek (Indie Spin Zone) "Shelflife Records describes itself as "an enthusiastic collection of people... devoted to the independent sounds of indie pop and it's accompanying aesthetics... happy and carefree melodies accompanied by ba-da-ba's (or la-la-la's)... and a certain eternal naiveté." Like the label itself, this description also fittingly describes the latest member of the Shelflife family, Evening Lights, whose 5 track EP debut "Landscape" was released on August 11th of this year. Featuring members of The Autocollants, Monterey, In A Day, and Laura Watling, Evening Lights represents a collaboration of artistry and sound. "Landscape" is sprinkled with intricate jangly guitar-pop melodies, that call to mind, at different moments, the best of this genre such as Belle and Sabastian, An April March, Pale Saints and even very faintly the Cocteau Twins (Milk & Kisses era). Throughout "Landscape" the sweet twee-kissed vocals of Laura Watling and Daphne Major weave expertly between the layers of sound that range from pure guitar pop, in the opening track "telephone and trafficlights", to subtle shoegaze elements and floaty blankets of reverb, in the title track, to the bass driven 3rd track "Phaedra" which, of all the tracks on the EP, best shows off the beautiful combination of the band's two female vocalists. If there is a weakness on this release, (and it is difficult to find one), it would be that while lyrically adequate the words that accompany many of the superior melodies on "landscape" fall a bit short from being truly satisfying. For me, the lyrics seemed a bit disconnected from the music that surrounded them Ð as though each element were telling a different story. The exception to this being the 3rd track, "Phaedra" in which the sadness and isolation of the song's subject is clearly echoed in the music. That said, it is important to note that on "Landscape" the star is truly the music and that star shines very brightly and beautifully. All in all, this debut EP is well worth checking out. Fans of other Shelflife bands will easily recognize Evening Lights as "one of their own" in this release, whereas indie music lovers who are new to Shelflife, will find "Landscape" to be a wonderful introduction to both the band and its label." -Jennifer Jones (Losing Today) "no-one understands / why she likes those bands..."
"evening lights of san francisco , oddly, draw much from "split"-era lush, which coming from a band who include ex- autocollants would seem to be setting your sights rather low. nevertheless, "landscape" is a mighty offering, for amidst all the pedals and blissed-out noise the evening lights are not prepared to engage your ears without the caress of what we in the business like to call "hooks". sensibly leading with their strongest number "telephones and traffic lights", that spends its verses shyly flirting with you, all blushing, eyelashes and secret smiles, before a chorus that breaks out like a hot flush and the most achingly simple of guitar lines that echoes off into the middle distance while the room dissolves in a happy haze of alcohol and longing. the title song combines the sundays and beaumont to relaxing effect, while there are a couple of times (e.g. "in a day") where you almost think they're building up to sudden wall of crashing noise, but instead they suddenly duck down another melodic side alley. elsewhere, there are bells, clear strumming and fields of tender regret - evening lights have announced their arrival and all the signs are that they are going to be extremely smooth operators. " - In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times "A supergroup of sorts, this band contains members of the Autocollants, Monterey, and Coloring Book, as well as Laura Watling. They play dreamy indiepop, in the vein of the above bands and the Brittle Stars. The songs are generally upbeat, and the sound is best described as light and airy. Though there are often multiple layers of guitars - with strummy acoustics, jazzy electrics, and reverby, almost ghost-like chords fading in and out - the songs are never really full or overloaded. The frequent use of vibes, as well as Laura's backing vocals under Ann's gentle lead vocals, also adds to the light feel. Very lovely debut! 5/5" - Indie Pages