[sic] Magazine

Pretty Lightning – A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain

Once upon a time an Icelandic lady by the stage-name of Lay Low surprised everyone by making a career of decent, Patsy Cline-style country music. And, when you think of the Delta blues, it isn’t the backwater swamps of Germany that first come to mind. Music is a state of mind, however, not a state of residence and Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas proved it on their 2012 debut There Are Witches In The Woods. With an arsenal of dirty riffs, heavy drum stomp and psychedelic swirl it rightly blew some brains and, with A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain, the Saarbrücken duo are back to do it all over again.

Supplementing guitar fuzz with distorted vocals and backmasking of the organ (which inhales weirdly thanks to the effect rather than exhaling), tracks like “Moonshine Blooze” sit on the cusp on dream and nightmare, the spooky twinkle of a music box rendering “The Rainbow Machine” an uneasy listen, too. At the other end of the spectrum, scorched-earth bottleneck slide and feedback lend “Woodlands” a post-apocalyptic vibe while an Eastern drum pulse transforms “Hypooze” into a warped and nauseous raga. “The Hobo Theme” is a curio even amongst this running order, a high-and-lonesome pinetrail shuffle during which pedal steel howls under a harvest moon.

Often slow to get going these are jams built on repetitive drones and chirrups until they inevitable erupt into steely jawed psych-rock chug and wail, the opener’s slo-mo swagger giving way to churning, organ-led garage-psych on its successor, for example. Pretty Lightning are right. There’s definitely magic to uncover on this trip down the lane.

Best track: “Woodlands”

~A Magic Lane Of Light And Rain is released May 11th 2015 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Sound Effects Records.~