Peaking Lights Make Their 'E S C A P E' by Maturing Without Losing Their Naïveté

BY Bryon HayesPublished May 8, 2020

Formed in Madison, WI, by the husband/wife duo of Aaron Coyes (Unborn Unicorn) and Indra Dunis (Numbers), Peaking Lights started off as a primitive but promising bedroom electronic pop outfit. A series of recordings for labels as diverse as Night People, Not Not Fun and Mexican Summer found the pair immersing themselves in psychedelia and embracing dub sensibilities while maintaining a sense of stylistic elasticity. Their orbit remained true to their DIY origins, albeit peppered with a diverse set of new influences.

E S C A P E is Peaking Light's first LP in over three years, following a relocation to Amsterdam. The record demonstrates the sonic maturity that a twelve-plus year career as avant-pop innovators has granted them. Wide dynamics and a rich sound that is heavy on the low end provide a solid foundation for Dunis' breathy vocals and Coyes' unique melodies to waft overtop of. The dub influence pervades the proceedings and is evident from the get-go. The opening bars of "Dharma" set the stage with heavy use of echo and a deep bass growl.

Interestingly, a dancefloor-aware sensibility is embraced across most of the album's thirteen tracks. "Peace" could be a banger in the right sort of club with its retro vibe and driving rhythm, while "The Dammed" (sic) – with its post-disco synth pads – is certain to get bottoms moving.

Coyes and Dunis have certainly developed and honed an aesthetic sensibility that is all their own. E S C A P E just might be the perfect marriage of their early naïveté – which one never truly grows out of – and the more mature, dynamic and polished sound that comes with experience.

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