Lightning Dust / Lost Lovers Brigade Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC August 27

Lightning Dust / Lost Lovers Brigade Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC August 27
As a more mellow, expansive permutation of the Black/Pink Mountain(tops) camp, Lightning Dust occupy a particular niche in Vancouver music. This, combined with the fact that they don't play many shows (presumably due to other musical commitments), may be why the release party for their latest full-length Infinite Light absolutely packed the Biltmore on a Thursday night.

First to play were fellow Vancouverites the Lost Lovers Brigade, an outfit which includes Adrian Teacher, who also fronts the criminally under-hyped Vancouver band Apollo Ghosts. The Lost Lovers play a sort of heartsick alt-country, and their lead vocalist has impressive presence and a set of pipes that bring Neko Case to mind without being overly derivative. All in all, a band to keep an eye on in the future.

As Amber Webber and Joshua Wells of Lightning Dust took the stage and began playing songs from their new album, it became apparent that they've stepped up their game. Infinite Light is a good record — a definite step forward from their eponymous debut — and the new compositions really shone in performance.

Lightning Dust was joined on stage by a rotating cast of local musicians (including Webber's twin sister Ashley, whose practically identical Grace Slick tremolo recently graced a Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album), and the more complex sound worked beautifully on new songs like the grandiose "Take It Home." Amber Webber's voice is still the centrepiece, though — at once powerful and tremulous, it can't help but dominate Lightning Dust's sound — and as it turns out, it's equally well suited to the desperate gloominess of the first album's songs and the more upbeat new ones. It all helped show Lightning Dust have indeed expanded both sonic and emotional palettes.