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Peaking Lights – Illuminations @ Plan B, London 28/10/14

31 October 2014, 14:00 | Written by Jack Dutton

It’s rare to hear a band that successfully revives genres of music you’d usually associate with being dated. But LA psychedelic pop act Peaking Lights manage to pull it off – combining influences of dub and acid house yet still pushing enough boundaries to make it sound compelling.

This London date comes in the middle of a European tour to celebrate the recent release of their fourth full-length album, Cosmic Logic. The new record, which came out earlier this month, is very different to their older more lo-fi work – it’s more dance floor ready, loaded with scintillating pads and tropical melodies.

Tonight, the pair’s look seemed inspired by the eighties acid rave scene. Aaron Coyes, on drum machine and keyboard duties, donned a bucket hat and a yellow bomber jacket. Singer Indra Dunis wore slightly darker clothing, but it still projected an aura of psychedelia. Neon egg timers, ferris wheels and other fluorescent objects float around on the projector behind them.

Dunis’s vocals are distinct. She sounds a little bored, but this contrasts well with the new album’s busy production. “Breakdown”, the lead single off Cosmic Logic epitomises this, the contrast highlighted more live than on record.

Peaking Light’s dub-inspired tracks often sound strongest. “Little Light” sounded fantastic live, its melodic chorus and dubby backdrop moving the crowd. The toy synth of “New Grrls” proved to be another highlight.

Despite most of the new tracks blossoming in a live setting, it was evident that the band hadn’t reached full confidence when performing their new material. An example of this was during “Telephone Call”, which sounded unorganised and brought the audience excitement down. “Telephone call from space calling all the human race,” Dunis sung uncertainly.

Although it was great hearing the new tracks live, it was also good to hear Peaking Lights playing some of their older material from the Lucifer and 936 albums. The band finished on a high with the summer-kissed dub of “All The Sun That Shines”, transcending the audience into a post-rave reverie.

But despite the enjoyable input from the band, it seemed disappointing how subdued the audience seemed throughout most of the night. The gig was in a nightclub, but it was an early evening show. You couldn’t help but imagine how much better it would have been a couple of hours later with a more inebriated crowd.

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