With their first LP in over three years, Californian psych-dub duo Peaking Lights offer an outlet from the mundane with a kaleidoscopic collection of lo-fi, escapist-electronic pop. Over their illustrious twelve-year-plus career, the husband and wife duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis have set themselves apart with their characteristic dreamy, and melancholic sound that blends together elements of dub, and delicate-but-quirky electronics. E S C A P E, Peaking Light’s sixth album, and first for Dekmantel, finds them at their finest, replete with atmospheric landscapes crafted out of homemade-percussive loops, that sit alongside wondrous electronic pop and krautrock-like hooks, all tied together by Indra Dunis’ composed and hypnotic vocal charm.
Now based out in Amsterdam, and having firmly established themselves on Dekmantel with their 2018 EP Sea of Sand, Coyes and Dunis’ unique brand of indie-synthwave yet further explores their ongoing delve into transcendental, psychedelic music. With E S C A P E, the production duo illustrate their pragmatic use of instrumentation and dubbing to create more heady and celestial avant-pop. From the very outset on opening track ‘Dharma’, the band’s iconic retro-dub aesthetic kicks in, before being accompanied by a litany of drum machines, sweeping compressed effects, and Dunis’ hypnotic serene vocals. Coyes, somewhat of a connoisseur and collector of varying studio gear adopts his steadfast dynamic approach to production, playing with new mixing techniques, tape loops, compression and effects throughout. It’s this freedom to indulge, and create new instruments, processes and sounds that have made Peaking Lights unique; an ever-present industriousness that characterises E S C A P E, whether it be on the deep textures of ‘Change Always Comes’, to the cathartic 80s pre-rave-wave of ‘The Damned’.
E S C A P E is a vibrant moment full of multi-spectral melodies crafted in an aesthetic the group have excelled in and made their own; a style exemplified by their breakout 2011 LP 936. And throughout E S C A P E, whether it’s on the esoteric ‘Eyes Alive’ to the mesmerising beach rhythms of ‘Dreams’, Peaking Lights’ rich and reverberated sonic palette shines through. For both dreamers and dancers alike, the latest offering to Peaking Lights’ illustrious catalogue is a true mind-expanding and fantastical listen full of passion and catharsis.