Black Lights
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Black Lights

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"John Robb"

Fuck me, they have barely even started. Forming in November Black Lights are as fresh and new as Louder Than War. And already they sound fully formed. This is an ultra musical sound, sort of Jeff Buckley with a northern accent but somewhere else. they already sound like they are on their third album with a fistfull of songs that already sound like standards.
Hailing from Manchester, Black Lights are very much on their own trajectory. they don’t sound like any of the trad Manc reference points – there is no bluster here- just a captivating quiet introspection and THAT voice that is full of emotion, a stark beauty, range and power and purity- potentially the voice of 2011?
They’re supporting Kid British at The Academy in May and playing Fomfest in Cheshire on May 20/22… - John Robb


"John McCready (Word Magazine/NME)"

Having been together for only 4 short months (the group formed in November 2010) it’s crazy there is anything at all to report about Black Lights.

Most groups would still be deciding who was going to make the tea or what angle to have their mics at while dreaming of fame, fortune and supersonic gin and tonics.

From standing, Black Lights have written a full set of songs. So what? You might retort. And I might have allowed you that right to reply. Except for the fact that these are songs which tower effortlessly over the naive attempts of those of their own age group (there’s no one older than 19 here) and precociously challenge the seasoned and skilful work of a Guy Garvey or a Tim Buckley.

These are not claims they make for themselves. There’s no swaggering R. Kid arrogance here and Jamie McCool, who has a voice that Al Green or Ray Charles would step back and admire, has barely heard of Buckley’s son Jeff. These are things that old heads who have been round the block, having seen the good the bad and the indifferent, see in Black Lights.

Songs like In My Soul- set to become familiar before the year is out- are characterised by a judgement, a lightness of touch and a restraint that belies their years and their experience. Jamie, “just sang around the house” , before a casual session with pianist Howard Eastwood resulted in songs seemingly dropping from the heavens. Beautiful things that guitarist Jack O’Connor punctuates respectfully and empathetically. It’s in the spirit of Black Lights that Jack, like Howard is classically trained but walks away from filling in all the bars. Tellingly, they could pummel these songs into submission with showy solos and swanky flourishes. Instead, they spiral around Jamie’s incredible voice with not a note wasted and a sense of the importance of what you chose to leave out, not what you can shoe horn in. It takes some musicians years to unlearn this. To Black Lights this is intuitive. It makes them magical and-only three packed via-word-of-mouth gigs- in, a world worth believing in.

To Jamie this is just common sense ‘When we write, we’re always looking for ways to empty out or to sit back and let someone else take the lead- give each other some space’.

It’s a lesson we all need reminding of. Less is more- unless you’re Slash or some other soft sod who knows in his heart there is so little marrow in the bones of his music that he has to go one louder to catch your attention. You don’t need to scream and shout to be inspiring and uplifting. With just guitar, piano and voice, Black Lights achieve.

Black Lights play Moho Live on 01/04/2011. To have reason be elsewhere that night I would expect there to be a particularly riveting Corrie episode or a well manned roadblock barring you from the city centre.

An EP is soon set to be released online. It will make a believer of you.

John McCready (Word magazine/NME) - John McCready


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Jamie McCool - Vocals
Howard Eastwood - Piano
Jack O Connor - Guitars