Two letters. One word. When it comes to music, “of” is the sturdy wall of preposition that spans the border of two distinctly different regions of familiarity. Close as it appears, hearing of a band does little to inform one about the way a band actually sounds. Of the five, though, hearing is the only sense where one’s sheer proximity to it seems to carry any weight in regard to experience. Unless intentionally sought out or playing as part of a bill populated with more established acts, Light Music could be the type of band that, until recently, coaxed the dreaded “of” from even the most avid Milwaukee music fan. However, with the release of the obscure electronic rock outfit’s debut full-length, Ocean’s Daughter, Light Music became a band that’s much easier to hear and whose music will make many—present company included—regret stubbornly holding onto that “of” as long as they did.
Light Music’s long-shelved record commands attention from the grandiose horns and cascading piano keys of album-opener, “Nussun Dorma,” that are as rich and filling as anything the eponymous Riverwest restaurant could serve up. “True Colors” and “Jack Of All Trades” (among other songs—especially “Shelf Life”) sees singer Shae Lappen’s voice channeling a more hook-minded version of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk with particulate notes of Bono, if you can believe it. Though cohesive as a whole, the multi-instrumentalists’ spirited-yet-calculated implementation of horns, synthesizer, strings, subtle looping, sparingly significant guitar, and auxiliary percussion carries a band that would otherwise be washed a way in the wave of cookie-cutter indie rock to higher ground. Yes, even within the clear cartography of what could be construed to be a concept album, there are some detours. The auto-tuned-as-fuck “Pack Of Wolves” takes the record off course momentarily, for example. Yet by album’s end, Ocean’s Daughter is one of the most atmospheric, well-orchestrated, and just plain big releases you’ll hear—or hear of—in Milwaukee all year.
Light Music will release Ocean’s Daughter on Saturday, September 5 at Mad Planet. Awkward Terrible and Ruth B8r Ginsburg will play in support. The show begins at 9 p.m. and costs $7.