Barnsley four piece Redlights hit the scene last year with their debut release I Ran – a cover of the Flock of Seagulls 80s synth-pop classic. It’s a tired old trick now – new unknown band release a cover version and suddenly they can declare they have thousands of hits on youtube. It’s not often a real indication of the quality of a band, and more so the popularity of the original. However, their choice of cover didn’t seem to me to be one that was seeking instant internet gratification. To me, it was inspired and suited their sound entirely.
Now, in 2013, the band declares that they ‘all share a passion for music and want to make it in the music industry and travel world playing our music. We thought to do this we need our own material.’ The band have since spent months perfecting their craft at DC Studios with local producer Steven Orant, developing a sound that takes in influences ranging from Foo Fighters and You me At Six, all the way to the Beatles!
And so here is the Redlights’ debut EP, Blinded By Streetlights, but what is it like?
Well, there is are enough interesting things going on in opening track Hold On to keep you coming back and hearing different things each time. The initial rhythm guitars are post-grunge, the symbal attack in the verse keeps the sound upbeat and while the vocals are the kind I’m normally into, these guys can clearly wail. The layering of vocals in the chorus is quite fresh, and even uplifting. The chorus of ‘hold on to me – don’t let go’ would be a definite fan singalong.
Everything is more of the same. Immediate, short stabs of the poppiest end of the alt rock spectrum. There are a couple of bands like this in town at the moment but here, Redlights stand out as one of the best for my liking. If you’d admit to once liking Lost Prophets or if you’re fans of Taking Back Sunday or You Me At Six, then this is right up your street.
Wondering Why would be a perfect single for any band wanting to make it in the pop mainstream and it shows the versatility of the band. The chorus on Wondering Why isn’t simple but it the kind of clever chorus you’d expect from mid 80s period Duran Duran. It seems that they’re more than able of legging it into either direction – pop or more alternative. I’m sure you can guess which I’d prefer though.
Titletrack Blinded By Streetlights is the big closer, the perfect way to end the EP and more than likely a live set. This and the opening track are easy highlights. The guitars in the verse is the sound of star-spangled light bouncing from mirror balls and as the band shout for you to ‘shine those eyes when I pass you by’, they throw themselves into the chorus and everything kicks right in for that last length. I’d say the vocals ought to be a little louder for a song that’s so anthemic – but hey… that’s only a minor gripe.
To say this is far from the kind of music I’d normally listen to, it had me by the collars and that is down to the great song writing and a knowing 80’s pop sensibility.
Redlights’ debut EP is available now from the band, on itunes or available to stream on Spotify.