Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Heading out to a Light Pollution show tonight? You do have a pair of earplugs at the ready, right? You don't? Oh, well, might we suggest that you stop at a drug store on your way to the venue or call the buddy you'll be hanging out with tonight and see if they can spare a pair for you. This is something that you'll want to do and you must, trust us, for this Chicago band takes the volume up a thousand decibels above normal comfort levels and the subtleties in the textures that lead singer James Michael Cicero builds into his songs - the melodies and the hooks - will be lost in that punishing wall of amplification unless you take some precautions. The band's debut full-length, "Apparitions," is an impressive record that does all kinds of things right - like light you right the fuck up, knock your socks off with pure, sonic vibrations. The three-to-four-minutes that Cicero and band (made up of college friend Matthew Evert, Nick Sherman and Jed Robertson) dedicate to each song are packed with punches that feel about as sweet as they do powerful and damaging. They've found a way to construct songs out of the aftermath and the fury of storms. Somewhere in these songs you'll hear the equivalent of a weather system forming out on the western skyline, that ferocious line of clouds billowing and barking, growing in stature. Those clouds will approach and they'll turn black and dark, navy blue as they get crosser and closer and then the winds will pick up, trying to crack trees into pieces. The rains always come in sheets, clogging the gutters and pelting whatever cover you find overtop of you with angry knocks and then…they let up and the grass glistens with new, brighter greenness and the sun pokes itself back out from behind its hiding place. The sky did its opening up, its whip-cracking and now, there's an apology being made as we're left with something of a peace-offering. Cicero sings his songs like a man who doesn't need all of the loudness, preferring to accentuate all of the highlights that he writes into the liners of them. He makes us feel - REALLY feel -- the storms that he comes upon, as well as giving us a reason to believe that all that's being kicked up will subside and there will be a clearing out of the energy that makes the walls shake, the floors shift and the hairs on our arms and legs stand straight up, unable to hold themselves down against the charge in the air.