Signals Midwest - Light on the Lake (Cover Artwork)

Signals Midwest

Light on the Lake (2013)

Tiny Engines

Signals Midwest's Light on the Lake reminds me of being back in 2001... in a good way. Not one of those, “God, why was I into this?” choices, but more like nostalgia with a freshness that was missing at the time. With throaty, Small Brown Bike-esque vocals and some excellent guitar work, this is a band who know how to create a haunting atmosphere (“A Glowing Light”) without losing a sense of fun (“A Room Once Called Yours”, particularly the end).

I love a great unexpected beat change so songs like “Lowercase” and “A Glowing Light, An Impending Dawn” made me really take notice. The latter song is a great closer as well. It’s a good example of how to write a really solid post-punk tune that can be long but remain exciting throughout instead of slogging to a close.

The only lesser points I noticed will probably vary in importance depending on the listener, but mixing-wise I thought the vocals and drums could be reigned in to match the guitars more. For as much as the guitar parts are excellent, they could also benefit from being more prominently displayed, especially when distorted.

All in all, a very enjoyable punk-tinged rock album. Lots of great changes in pace throughout, and who doesn’t love a good lyrical callback? In this case it’s, “Are we reflections, or next in succession?” First muttered at the end of “In the Pauses” and brought back to close out the album in the aforementioned “A Glowing Light....”