Old Lights

Old Lights

 St. Louis, Missouri, USA
BandPopRock

The melodic opulence of Wings, the dark-cornered and sweetly sung pop of Fleetwood Mac, and Brill Building piano pomp get jostled by joyful synthesizer bursts, jagged guitar freak-outs and choir-sweet harmonies. Memorably melodic and charmingly catchy.

Biography

Romanticizing pain is a sucker’s game. Heartbreaks are a part of life, and writing sad songs isn’t going to change that immutable fact. But if there is a relationship between personal trauma and great art, David Beeman has found a way to invert the traditional formula. As the leader of St. Louis, Missouri’s Old Lights, Beeman has catalogued his faults, fixations, fumbles and fuck-ups with bright, surging pop music that refuses to lie down. The lyrics my make you flinch, but the music keeps you rapt and swaying.

It’s an uneasy truce, to say the least.

With the new 10-inch release Like Strangers, Old Lights have expanded its palette to address Beeman’s intertwined tales of brutal heartbreak, reluctant resolution and the damnable perseverance of something so trite and vital as love. The melodic opulence of Wings, the dark-cornered and sweetly sung pop of Fleetwood Mac, and Brill Building piano pomp get jostled by joyful synthesizer bursts, jagged guitar freak-outs and choir-sweet harmonies. Beeman’s fluency on guitar and piano frame his high tenor voice, which is able to deliver an emotional payoff without sacrificing the many sweet spots in his songs.

These new layers of sonic set-dressing come compliments of an expanded Old Lights line-up. Where the first LP Every Night Begins the Same (2009, St. Ives Records) was largely a self-recorded affair, Beeman enlisted a veritable wrecking crew of St. Louis talent. As romantic and musical partners, Beth Bombara (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Kit Hamon (bass, keyboards, vocals) add buoyant, pop-friendly precision as well as stellar vocal harmonies to these songs. Drummer John Joern is the kind of beatkeeper who can direct the musical traffic with minimal flair and maximum taste, and his backing vocals give some honeyed grit to mix. You can hear a band at work, able to interpret and make incarnate Beeman’s visions. If Every Night was a romantic sepia-toned photo, Like Strangers opts for the vibrant and imperfect hues of Kodachrome.

If the line between real life and fine art begins to blur at moments on Like Strangers, that’s Beeman’s way of writing lyrics while swathing them in glorious production and pure-pop arrangements. It may be an uneasy truce, but at least it’s one where no one loses.

--Christian Schaeffer

Discography

Like Strangers, July 2011- Self Released
Every Night Begins the Same, Oct. 2009- St. Ives Records