Published Dec 06, 2014Despite a growing discography and maturing sound, Peaking Lights seem to only be getting younger and younger. On tour to support their latest album, Cosmic Logic, the San Francisco-based partners in both life and music brought a welcome summery breeze to a crowd taking refuge from the endless deluge in the rainy city.
A background to warm up to was a provided by the curator of the ever-busy cassette label 1080p, Richard MacFarlane (aka Richy Boo). With a DJ set packed with previews of upcoming releases from the label, he introduced a fresh and airy atmosphere to the Fox Theatre's cavernous hall.
Blending into this atmosphere was a set by Bobo Eyes, a collaboration between producers Olivia Meek, Evelyn Mason (better known as Evy Jane) and Regular Fantasy. Set up in front of a table packed with hardware, the trio worked together playfully to unleash a set of loosely structured jams, guided by the relaxed lead of of Mason's lush voice.
Eventually the headlining duo started their set unassumingly to a very laid-back crowd, setting the mood with lightly floating rhythms and jumpy bass lines. Having brought along a sizable amount of the machinery powering their dubby albums, their sound was driven by funky percussion leaning towards the underground club dance floor. The influences were particularly pronounced on the Italo disco bouncer "Hypnotic Hustle," while "Eyes to Sea" took on acid-house tropes and reinvented them on the duo's own terms.
The pair's output has clearly shifted away from the delay-drenched layers of guitars and deeply overdriven bass that characterized the otherworldly psychedelia of their earlier efforts; last night (December 5), they opted for shorter and brighter songs populated with the sentimental lyrics of Indra Dunis. At the centre of these pieces were mostly simple and lyrically sparse choruses, as on "Everyone and Us," which seemed to include slogans against nothing and everything at the same time.
With a vibe closer to a cozy house party than a concert, they presented most of the content of their latest album. The open, relaxed atmosphere seemingly inspired the duo to experiment and improvise along the way. This approach led to some looping parts that seemed less than fully thought out, as a few glitches teased the band's flow; the patchwork of their wired-together machines struggled to talk to each other at times.
Peaking Lights pieced together a very entertaining hour that managed to leave the terminally chilled-out crowd demanding an encore. Throughout, the duo showed themselves to be very open to exploring directions while keeping their commitment to exploring lucid dream-like sonic states.