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Lantern - Black Highways and Green Garden Roads

Black Highways and Green Garden Roads
Fixture - 2016

Michael Panontin
"A result of many oversteeped pots of black tea," is how Lantern's Emily Robb describes Black Highways and Green Garden Roads. The most recent missive from this Philadelphia-based trio (which the good folks over at Fixture assure us contains enough maple syrup to qualify as CanCon) is a caffeine-fuelled excavation of the druggier side of sixties psych, which means plenty of spiralling guitars, loopy harmonies and crisp chords.

The three - actually singer, multi-instrumentalist and New England-raised Robb and her equally versatile partner-in-crime, Nova Scotian Zachary Fairbrother, with Halifax-born Christian Simmons shoring up the rhythm end of the equation - seem to have pushed their messy, chaotic acid-psych into newer, hitherto unexplored realms. "We wanted to make something new happen," explained Robb. "We wanted to take risks and see where we might end up."

The opening 'He Is a Pinball', for instance, is flowery and frilly, recalling some of the best of British psychedelia, especially Pete Townsend's more whimsical moments on Tommy. In fact, much of Black Highways... is laden with subtle, and not too subtle, sonic references to the era, especially to Pink Floyd's early acid-tinged rave-ups (the frenetic bass/organ weave of 'We Are Here' and the epic guitars of 'We Are Here Again' just two of the more obvious examples). And the faithful are also well served here with the manic 'BLK HWYS', a glorious freakfest that certainly ought to sate fans of Lantern's earlier, more out-there efforts.

(Fixture issued Black Highways... in a measly run of just 200 cassettes, but for those who dig the black wax, there are 12" copies out there on the Sophomore Lounge label.)



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