Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
This debut session from the Ypsilanti, Michigan, group Lightning Love provides an incredible story arc, even if it was unintended. You could have sensed that it would happen from the outset, even if it would have been a shot in the dark. Lead singer and keyboardist Leah Diehl sings about a love that's not so much forbidden, as it's ill-advised. It's one of those relationships where no one else can see what the appeal is. Well, one side might, but the other couldn't be more off-put by the entire thing, voicing its disapproval strenuously and impulsively, as if its disgust couldn't help but be vomited out, without any form of restraint or sugar-coating. The person that she's singing about is a person that she wants to be with. She's blind to all others and deaf to the naysayers. She sings, "They'd rather stay away than see us as a couple," detailing the abandonment of all their friends, all due to this relationship. It sounds rather tragic, these two people being shunned by all of the friends whom they used to hang out with before any of this started - these groups that they have such a history with just turning their backs because they can't stand the person she goes home with at night. Diehl sings, "I feel like everything I do is everybody's problem."
The good thing for everybody is that in the next song, "Deadbeat," she discovers a few things she didn't previously know about this person and not everything is as swell as it used to be. It's not a disaster though either because, seeing the true colors of someone the way she does is irksome but it's hardly heartbreaking. It's a person like that who can be done without. They're meaningless and worthless, a complete drain on a person. It brings us to the final song - here is a suite of easy-to-adore, bright sunny morning pop songs that still deal with passing out drunk when they have to - where all of the messed up feelings have been resolved, the tempers have abated and spirits are rising and riding again. The main character's gone through the phase of bringing herself out of that self-induced fogginess and there's much that's been learned - the most important lesson of which might have just been that it's great to live alone and not have to answer to anyone.
Diehl, guitarist Ben Collins and drummer Aaron Diehl, bring everything back around to where we might have been before this session ever started, only with a hunch that our friends might be wiser than we ever give them credit for. It's typically more fun to give them shit and to bum rides off of them instead of taking any kind of romantic advice from them.
Lightning Love Official Site