Naked Lights, “On Nature”
Pause to consider that Wire, The Ex, and Gang of Four—three post-punk linchpins all formed before 1980—continue to be active. It’s a blessing that such revered veterans are still around. But, like baby boomers who refuse to retire, they also leave less room for aspiring successors like Oakland’s Naked Lights to carve out their own space. The quintet’s second album gets off to a rollicking start with “New Carrion,” establishing dueling guitars and a bouncy bass as the framework for the solid record. The groove is then quickly derailed with “Pictus,” a quick number that is more of a warm-up than an album-worthy composition. On Nature continues to energetically vacillate between tight and drifting experimentation, cutting off the skronky “Nicht Leiden” and sax-infused “Mechanical Eye” before they could fly off into space and out of Naked Lights’ control. “Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah not-not-not noodling,” vocalist Aurora Crispin chirps on “Pool on a Plate.” Sometimes it sounds like the band is doing just that, but it’s in these new and meandering moments that their true potential to get out from under their forefathers is heard.