There’re smooth, emotive vocals from the off with this debut EP from Devizes own Nightlights, “Different Pathway” which prompted memories of Simple Minds, and a solid melody which made me think of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.
Another homemade band so far escaped me. Just how many others of you are out there I’ve still to stumble on? Devizine is just as much a learning curve for me as it is for you, which is nothing but a good thing. Ben and Cam jump to my defence though, explaining “We’ve only been together as a whole band for just over a year now, and have been working hard to craft our sound and practice for gigs.”
For a work-in-progress only stretching a year, Nightlights sound prodigious and tightly polished. There was me thinking this was going to be a run-of-the-mill pub circuit band. And, what’s in a name? I felt Night Lights a tad clichéd, besides not particularly apt coming from a town hardly Blackpool Illuminations, where it’s a tall order to ask the county council to bung on a street light of an evening.
Still, I can’t blame twenty-somethings Ben, Nath, James, Tristan and Cam who make up this enthusiastic band, for council spending cutbacks, with the undeniably wonky logic of which switching street lights on when it gets light seems passable. I could ask if they fancy a job at county hall, they seem to have their heads screwed on. Rather though, I inquired if they think their matured sound marries up to my Tom Petty comparison, with nods to an eighties rock vibe, such as U2 and level 42, etc. I mean, what are these guy’s influences for producing such an astoundingly solid debut EP?
“I think Tom Petty is a fair comparison for Free & Sunshine,” they reply, “not sure if any of us really listen him to be honest, so it could just be something we picked up!” I approve this, for between the three tunes “Sunshine” is perhaps the closest, a country-rock riff. “Free,” however comes over blues inspired; be them Rolling Stones me thinks.
“Our influences are quite varied,” Cam expressed, “A few of us are into Blues and Classic Rock, so Clapton, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Knopfler.” This holds no surprises on hearing these tunes, as even though I state one signals blues while the other country-rock, there’s a definite style with Nightlights which bind them. What followed in our chat did surprise, “Then some of us have more modern influences,” he continued, “like Blur, Gorillaz, Bloc Party. Then there’s other bands and artists like Prince, Tool and Iron Maiden.”
Maybe my aging ears erroneous, as I hear Blur possibly, but as far as what’s coming across my speaker, there’s nothing too progressive or “dancey” as Gorillaz, and nothing too heavy for Maiden. These are just three enjoyable, evocative, grooving driving tunes performed fervently and with style. “Yeah,” they explain, “it’s a weird one really. I think we try to take inspiration from the past and move forward with it.” I reckon that works; here’s a sound with the professionalism of old fifty-something rockers, but a fresh breezy approach of youth. Impressive.
“It all mixes into a musical bucket,” Ben laughed, “and comes out nicely.”
It neither tinkers with interminable intros or soundscapes for twenty minutes at the close, there’s no special effects, disco synths or samples from a sci-fi movie, just unadulterated rock. Don’t take my word for it, have a listen and I think you’ll agree Night Lights is one to keep an eye on. As while these tunes are fantastically accomplished, it’s an early crease and, I think their magnum opus is yet to come. As with the bands I’ve justifiably compared them too, who rely on that single, signature tune of magnificence, I think it’s only a matter of time before Night Lights trigger that one tune, and you want to be around when it does. Until that moment, Different Pathway is an excellent debut.
You can hear with this Soundcloud link; or Spotify link; it’s digital download only, from iTunes and online sources, and they told me, “We usually have copies of it at our gigs where we accept donations for it.”
You can catch them at The Churchill Arms West Lavington on 6th October and at The Black Swan in Devizes with Luke Clements-Mitchell on the 20th October. Like their Facebook page for further updates.