The Mystery Lights - The Mystery Lights album review

New York gutter rock rides again.

The Mystery Lights - The Mystery Lights album review

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That venerable species The New York Band had almost seemed extinct in the face of the city’s inexorable gentrification, but The Mystery Lights defiantly buck the trend with 70s-style passion and street smarts.

Unusually, founders Mike Brandon and LA Solano left their Californian birthplace to settle in the Queens basement where the band create their angular blend of scrabbling guitars, howling vocals and mysterioso organ, like they’re coming to life after being frozen in a Bowery sidewalk since the mid-70s.

Cutting their teeth in New York’s surviving venues, the quintet (first signings to Daptone’s new Wick offshoot) arrive like a most welcome anachronism as tracks such as the Television-savaging Without Me, scathing Too Many Girls and shimmering hoodoo of Flowers In My Hair (Demons In My Head) spring into compelling life, carrying respectful echoes of their adopted city’s illustrious legacy to forge a New York City soundtrack for modern times.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!