Fulton Lights : Self-Titled (Android Eats Records)
Fulton Lights' self-titled debut is a magnificnet collection of songs that can effortlessly burrow their way into your conscious. The album is an alluring mix bringing together experimental indie rock and dark trip-hop production. What could have been a potentailly awkward combination, has turned out to be one of those little, unexpected treasures. Each of the ten tracks on show offer their own highlights here, which makes for an enticing listen from start to finish.
The project of the velvet-voiced Andrew Spencer Goldman (Maestro Echoplex, John Guilt), it's an ambitious attempt to soundtrack his surroundings, the daunting city of New York. It would be easy to file this album under the label of post 9/11 tension. Fulton Lights, however, is so much more that with lyrical content that gets under the skin of the city. Goldman's sentiments such as when he half whispers "That's the pound of the subway, That's the metal screeching like tortured souls", transports the listener to the very core of the Big Apple until you can almost feel its beating heart. "The Sound Of The City" is an early highlight capturing the dense atmosphere of New York with wailing guitar effects that merge with wind sounds. Goldman's fragile vocals offer up a perfect contrast to the disorientating nature of the instrumentation.
Released through his own Android Eats imprint, Goldman has enlisted the help of several high profile friends. Musicians from diverse acts such as The Walkmen, Wilco, The Hold Steady and Christmas Decorations appear throughout the album. But perhaps the most striking contribution comes from the claustrophobic production overhaul on "1,000 Little Eyes", courtesy of former Dälek DJ, Still. Evoking images of smoke-filled jazz clubs, its the sound of the city that never sleeps as eerie effects combine with a thudding beat. Goldman heightens the tension, repeating the hanuting mantra of "You're being watched by a thousand little eyes" over and over.
"Thank God For The Evening News" follows a similar strategy, resting somewhere between Portishead and Massive Attack. Yet, with its dusty trip-hop beat and cinematic string arrangements, it's instantly compelling. If you feel a little too over-whelmed by the album's claustrophobic nature, however, you will find solace in the beautiful "Old Photographs" and the mesmerising "Fire In The Palm Of My Hand". The former contains striking guitar harmonics, while Goldman's soft vocals recall Grandaddy's Jason Lyttle. "The Fire In The Palm Of My Hand", meanwhile, is a laid-back affair with twinkling piano notes, vocal harmonies, floating string arrangements and soft percussion.
Full of sublime production touches, inventive instrumentation and packed with an endless amount of ideas, Fulton Lights debut offers ten dense and beautiful compositions. It is a heartfelt tribute to the city that Andrew Spencer Goldman has called home for the last five years. A gem of an album and a worthy addition to your record collection.
Rating - 89%