Highline is pleased to announce the debut self titled album by Sweet Lights, available on CD, vinyl and digital download on April 30th in the UK. Sweet Lights, Sweet Lights is a masterful mixture of dynamic, genre-bending song craft, innovative arrangements and surreal, poignant lyricism. Musical polymath Shai Halperin’s work has always been that of a shape-shifting pop auteur and Sweet Lights retains this singular, yet multi-faceted personality, held together with supreme pop hooks.
The album’s lead single “Endless Town” may pay homage to Shai’s hometown of Philadelphia, but its bittersweet sentiments could address any person’s own sense of comfort and entrapment. The single was produced with Jeff Zeigler, long time Kurt Vile and War on Drugs producer. Vile himself passed through the studio during one “Endless” session and signalled his approval for the layers of 12 strings and acoustics. “Are We Gonna Work it Out” is a blazing statement of intent; musically pulsing and uplifting, while lyrically nebulous or even conflicted. The sense of urgency is intoxicating, the melody is classic pop, and when was the last time you heard duelling (tasteful!) electric and acoustic guitar solos?
Discussing his penchant for referencing other musical works through his own, Shai explained, “Perhaps, The Beatles’ “We Can Work it Out” needed a response. As in, “ARE we gonna work it out? Really?” Not that the original sentiment was entirely naive or dated. Or was it? Sampling is one thing, recirculating the hooks of the past. But I was exploring a musical response to the past… not letting those songs just sit there, unresolved. I wanted to update things, as opposed to letting the music that influenced me exist in a vacuum and continue to haunt, inspire, or maybe aggravate. Someone needs to take a moment and say “Maybe I’m NOT Amazed”, or “Every night I tell myself I am NOT the cosmos”. That’s where my head is at.”
The heart-wrenching “You Won’t Be There” tips its hat to Double Fantasy-era Lennon and Roy Orbison, crafting a modern-day ballad with sweeping harmonies and dreamlike instrumentation. A cascading delay-guitar solo makes an intense impression and is a recurrent texture throughout the album. The four-part “Here Comes The Son” ends the album on an epic note, bringing together biographical lyrics and musical influences in a progressive tour de force, scoring the emotional timbre of the human condition note for note.
Sweet Lights marshals the classic elements we love in pop music, yet Halperin’s vision is undeniably forward looking. With an auteur’s eye towards self-referentiality, his one-man crafted debut can be consumed casually or devoured with intensity. Sweet Lights allows the listener to lose themselves in song craft and pop hooks or hone in on its sharp, wistful undertones. It’s smart, spellbinding, blissful, bittersweet, and heartbreakingly triumphant.