Sometimes you get hung up on a detail. From the first play of Lightships' debut lp "Electric Cables" (Geographic) I was floored by the passage about two minutes into "Photosynthesis" where Gerard Love sings "Waited so long, Drifted off in a dream". He only sings those lines twice but from the first time on that first spin I was convinced that it was the single most beautiful piece of art I'd heard or seen in 2012 and I remain convinced of it. The rest of the tune is wondrous, all optimistic melodica, stuttering drums and a backgrounded keyboard that makes you tingle in the same way that the Bobby Reed sample on Saint Etienne's "Spring" makes you tingle. I would love to hear what that group's Wiggs & Stanley would come up with were they ever to remix it. I suspect it would be sublime. It's not hard to see why Geographic released "Electric Cables" in spring. So many of its songs are concerned with blossoming whether it be of a romance or of things in nature. The air of gentle transformation and quiet noticing is completely enchanting. It feels like the lp was conceived over repeated walks along a canal or by a river. There are so many sounds - pretty much all of Tom Crossley's pleasingly non-hippie flute work, for example, or the skipping guitar figure on recent single "Sweetness In Her Spark" - and lyrics - "Gentle one, this world is yours", "I don't plan to let you down", "I sense the magic in her" to quote but three - that are utterly disarming in their easy beauty. Everything is in balance, too. For instance. "Silver and Gold" features the record's only chunky fuzz-guitar wash so Love adopts a particularly tender falsetto and the equilibrium is restored. There won't be many warmer, more consistent or more human records released in 2012. Taken as a whole or as a collection of lots of exquisite details, it's a record that I know I'll need to return to a lot over the coming months.
(Monorail has signed copies!)