Mussels - Night Lights (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Night Lights (2005)


As time goes on, I feel like the albums I cherish the most, the ones that truly hold a special place for me, are the albums that I can peacefully fall asleep to. This does include heavy music, as I've turned in the night to Isis, Buried Inside, and others plenty of times, but there's just certain records that evoke a great atmosphere for going to sleep.

I think I just may have found a new perfect record for this, in the aptly named Night Lights, the newest EP from Mussels. And it's not even because it's a particularly lulling or soothing record, because it's not, it just has that quality. It's those intangibles I so often refer to. Every band has them, not every band knows how to make them work for them.

Mussels are like a little ball of energy that's constantly expanding and contracting, expanding and contracting, there's just always something happening. Indie rock at heart, the slew of instrumental tangents breaks up what could become monotonous after a while, no matter the volume they play at or the energy they play with. Take the schizophrenic "I've Arrived," which starts off in a very plaintive manner, with some slow piano playing, quickly moves into a much more volatile state, with squalling waves of dissonance, and quick riffing before settling on a very bouncy, up-tempo sound that carries it back into the somber stage from which it started, only to have that ball of energy expand again when singer and guitarist Brandon Lenihan embarks on a much louder journey than the rest of his band-mates, leaving him to play catch up.

"Just Borrowing Stuff" shows the much more emotionally evocative side of the band, relying on nothing more than some dull, wistful vocals and drum beats that are few and far between. Halfway through the song, seemingly out of nowhere, the band wakes up again and starts playing some really soulful material, carrying the song out on a much higher note than it began. It's this tug of war through all seven songs that keeps interest, keeps you on your toes.

It's getting late, close to two now. I think it's about time to make the 20-foot trek to my room, pop this into the stereo, and see what dreams may come.