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Thursday, 30 April 2015
PRETTY LIGHTNING - A MAGIC LANE OF LIGHT AND RAIN (Cardinal Fuzz/Sound Effect Records LP/CD)
Hailing from the dark, foreboding swamps of……er……..Saarbrücken, Germany and raised on moonshine and L.S.D., if Deliverance is ever remade by director David Lynch then there is no doubt the Spook Blues duo Pretty Lightning will be providing the soundtrack. Pretty lightning are Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas, both members of the sprawling ritualistic ‘Neo-Hippie-Spook-Folk’ collective Datashock, who put the band together in 2007 and released their debut LP on the Finnish label Fonal Records in 2012. There Are Witches In The Woods showcased their sparse, muddy psychedelic Delta Blues sound and the band’s second album, A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain, provides more of the same with minimal stomping drums, reverb drenched dirty Blues riffs, ghostly vocals, analog keys/loops and songs that sound as if they have been captured from some half remembered twilight reverie. Recorded in glorious lo-fidelity in a way that holds no regards for studio polish or any hi-tech sheen, there aint nuthin’ fancy about the strange magic conjured up on this record…….it’s raw psychedelic Blues stripped down to the bone.
A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain is an heady mix of primal Blues stomp and warped psychedelia as Pretty Lightning’s take on the Blues is to tear it apart and put it back together upside down, twisting it into strange new shapes. There are some really great tunes on this long player, ‘Woodlands’ is straight dirty blooze, unfussy drumming holds down the backbeat while the guitarist keeps his pact with the Devil he made down at the crossroads with searing bottleneck slide licks.....the stripped back, atmospheric ‘Good Old Liar’ goes to the same dark places in the swamplands as the Bad Seeds, however with its swirling organ and Garage Rock groove ‘Marble Moon’ is possibly the most instantly accessible track here. The rest of the album is wonderfully psychedelic….. there is an experimental, improvisational side to Pretty Lightning no doubt developed during their time playing with Datashock; ’Moonshine Blooze’ mixes together a cyclical groove with backwards guitar and heavily distorted vocals whereas the weird voodoo of ‘Hypnooze’ has languid slide guitar locked together with hypnotic, pulsing drums merging with a looped female voice, the result is something akin to The Smoke Fairies on a massive mushroom bender. The best two tracks on the record blend both the experimental with the more straightforward Blues Rock…..’ A Gift From A Bone To A Bell’ combines a couple of minutes of psychedelic backwards tracks and guitar drones before bursting into life with tumbling drums. ‘Graveyard Howls’ is an epic hallucinatory Psych/Blues guitar and drums wig-out……extra colour is added with additional keys and loops to a track that sees Pretty Lightning heading towards the vibe of Led Zeppelin’s ‘In My Time Of Dying’ with some scorching slide guitar playing. This is another top quality release from Cardinal Fuzz and we recommend you check this record out…. although fantastically psychedelic, fans of the Black Keys and the White Stripes are also really going to dig this album. You can catch Pretty Lightning at Eindhoven Psych Lab and numerous other places during the year this as they aim to put a spell on you with their creepy Voodoo Blues.
A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain is due for release on 11th May but is now available to pre-order from Cardinal Fuzz at their online store. The album will be available on limited edition vinyl in creamy/yellow swirl, black with yellow speckles or blacker than black pressings. The album is also available on an unfashionable CD. As an option you can also get a copy of the CD/black vinyl direct from Pretty Lightning via their Bandcamp page.