Friday, June 1, 2018

Record Review:
Guiding Light
"Guide The Lightning"
(Bleeding Gold Records)

$18 //
Edition of 200 on Black // //

When it comes to music, I feel like there are certain stories we will always have that will just stay with us forever.   In my younger years (And I don't want to date myself here) I drove about an hour and a half to see this band called The Canterbury Effect.   They were playing with this other band called The Forecast.    Something happened with The Canterbury Effect and they didn't make the show, but I distinctly remember getting there and some other kids had shown up and were told that as well but the promoter was all "But we still have The Forecast playing!" and the kids were all "Whatever!" and just left.   Also, this happened right in front of the band, which I don't think those kids who walked away realized.

Several years later, I would interview The Forecast and bring up this tale with them and we all had a laugh about it.   I only bring up this story of yesteryear now because in some ways, Guiding Light reminds me of The Forecast (and not just for the dueling vocals)   There is this western sense buried underneath layers of dreamy, blissed out rock.   From Mazzy Star to Cowboy Junkies, this is heavily distorted at times and yet also trippy, which you could probably imagine as well.   It's like a more mellow version of Metric, which is also a bit of a tongue twister.     There is also this jangle at times which reminds me of Blondie getting on that chain gang.

Through an indie folk rock feel, this has elements of both Neil Young and Tom Petty in it.    It has an all-star cast to it though, which you can see in the linear notes on Bandcamp, so when you see names like that come together you have to expect something great, right?   The song "Happy" has the whistling which makes it feel even more like a western, though there are also hints of other bands such as All Get Out or some gospel choir even.   Patches of static and big, heavy distortion can be heard through the bliss just the same.

While the songs can range from someone who lived their life worthy of a song but then they were the only one who would sing along to the idea that Jesus doesn't love you half as much as I do, there is just a gritty, earthy feel to these songs, which also reminds me of Two Gallants.   In that sense (and based upon who you know is contributing to make these songs happen) it just gives off this feel of someone well traveled. 

There is a difference between a young band, maybe they even made an entire album but haven't really been too far out of their home state and a band who has seen the world playing shows and I think a lot of that has to do with how bands can change from one album to the next even though it doesn't seem to get talked about a lot.   Guiding Light has the feel of a van that has a lot of miles on it, and if you need to know what that sounds like then put this on and take a drive.

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