Night Beats, Mystery Lights, Evening Attraction | Beat Kitchen | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Mystery Lights

Mystery Lights

Sacha Lecca

Night Beats, Mystery Lights, Evening Attraction 

When: Fri., July 22, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $12, $10 in advance
Lots of things have made the output of Daptone Records compelling: the meticulous depth of production from cofounder Gabriel Roth, the historic accuracy of the playing, the irresistible charm of the songs, and the charisma of singers like Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. The first release on Daptone’s new rock imprint Wick is by young New York band Mystery Lights—who clearly use their copies of Nuggets as road maps to making music—and though singer Mike Brandon can’t match the presence of Jones and Bradley, he gets the job done, reaching deep into his chest for some impressive, R&B-informed wailing. The production is great, with each Farfisa swell and fuzzed-out string bend leaping from the speakers. The band ditches the caveman rawness of most garage rock over the last couple of decades for something more polished but no less powerful and satisfying. There may be nothing remotely original about the group’s eponymous debut—“21 & Counting,” for example, wouldn’t exist without the armature of “Pushin’ Too Hard” by the Seeds—but I don’t know of many groups delivering this sound with such precision and verve. There are also subtle allusions to 60s-era machismo and grandeur: on “Melt” the singer rues his diet of booze and drugs, while on “What Happens When You Turn the Devil Down” the narrator is stood up by the devil at a crossroads.
— Peter Margasak
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