Both Lights

  • AU
  • The Leaf Label
  • 2012-04-02

AU are Portland, Oregon duo Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka who have moved to The Leaf Label for their third album release as they attempt to capture the energy and vibrancy of their live shows in their recordings. Wyland developed AU into a band due to touring needs, bringing drummer Valatka on board full time for Both Lights to create a stripped-back sound that is just as powerful as his densely-layered previous release Verbs.

A natural flow that inspires greatness.

Both Lights is as inventive as it is expansive, “Epic” explodes into action with frenetic drumming but slowly the music evolves a layer-upon-layer of instruments slow the song down into a majestic finale – and that is the genius of AU. Wyland rarely settles for standard composition: on “Crazy Idol” there’s a pause for a clatter and a bang amid the sweeping vocals of the choral folk track while on “Solid Gold” there’s so many skips and style changes its hard to keep up with the breathless speed but it’s oh-so thrilling to listen. You often find yourself imagining AU jumping out at the speakers to perform in your lounge such is the success of capturing their on-stage abilities.

“Why I Must” is played at a break-neck pace thanks to a piano setting the tempo and again AU seem out of control on an instrumental tip, but they never are. “Go Slow” brings the vocals back to calm the album down for the tender “Old Friend” and ponderous “Don’t Lie Down” which act as fond farewells, however the more dramatic “OJ “ and “Get Alive” will have you returning for more. AU’s morph into a duo has paid off terrifically with a natural flow that inspires greatness.

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