March 5, 2009

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Wild Light, Adult Nights
Almost Gold/Startime Records, March 3

There’s no denying that this album is a big deal for the state of New Hampshire; since I have neither time nor inclination to listen to radio I can only assume that local stations are talking this up and playing the advances. A lot.

In case you didn’t know, seminal hayloft-indie band Arcade Fire was hatched at Phillips Exeter Academy when Win Butler hooked up with Josh Deu and Tim Kyle, the latter of whom, in a double-duty role not uncommon to AF and their various offshoots, is listed here as a “keyboardist/bassist” (my nerves do thank them for having only four members). The remainder of the band is made up of fellow New Hampshirites Jordan Alexander, Seth Pitman and Seth Kasper.

In other good news, no time is wasted trying to compete with Arcade Fire’s curveballs or experimentation. Recorded in L.A. with Beck producer Rob Schnapf, this is an all-business album intended to generate hits of a BoDeans/Train stripe, making easily accessible stuff out of hard-strummed guitars and Alexander’s voice, a sonic hybrid of Moody Blues and Win Butler. Stompy anthem “California on my Mind” got Rolling Stone’s attention (not strictly for its “f— California” refrain); “New Hampshire” is as wearied but resolved as its citizens; “Surf Generation” runs Clinic through a Ryan Adams translator. Not for nothing, but very best of luck to these guys. AEWS