Spotlights ‘Seismic’ Review: Married Brooklyn rockers craft a brutal yet beautiful noise.
Spotlights (aka Brooklyn husband and wife Mario and Sarah Quintero) are a power duo in every sense of the word. On their sophomore album Seismic (out October 6 on Ipecac Recordings), they create a sound so massive, it’s hard to believe it was created by just two people. The album’s title is wholly appropriate.
Their musical style is also novel, drawing from a variety of genres including post-metal, shoegaze, space-rock, sludge metal and alternative rock that’s equal parts bludgeoning and blissful. And it’s paid off, with the band landing a recent gig opening for the Melvins.
The title track is a perfect opener that shows just what the band are capable of, beginning with church-bell synths followed by buzzsaw riffage, coming across like some unholy fusion of Failure, Deftones and Sigur Ros.
Learn to Breathe has a killer riff that recalls early Queens of the Stone Age, veering from transcendent stoner rock to classic shoegaze with breakneck precision. These aren’t easy stylistic changes to navigate, but Spotlights make it look easy.
The couple’s soothing dual harmonies brings to mind the androgynous vocals of My Bloody Valentine, which provide a stirring counterpoint to aggressive guitar textures. As a result, songs like Ghost of a Glowing Forest and Under The Earth are like dream-pop on steroids, their mix of serenity and aggression both disorienting and beautiful.
Seismic, produced by Aaron Harris (Isis/Palms) features truly cavernous, yet pristine soundscapes on tunes like the cinematic Hang Us All and the sludge-metal stylings of A Southern Death. It’s an album made to be blasted loudly from a car stereo. The riffs thump you square in the chest, while the vocals and electronic elements emerge with crystal clarity.
The album ends with The Hope of A Storm, a moody, down tempo instrumental with a somber post-rock feel, with the sound of crackling embers underneath swirling guitar and electronic soundscapes.
Something about Seismic feels like a game-changer. It’s one of the best metal albums I’ve heard in ages, and certainly one of the best albums of 2017. There is a next-big-thing aura hanging over Spotlights and I can’t wait to see where they go from here.
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