Light Pollution write indie rock anthems that are interrupted from time to time with electronic digressions, a style mined to exhaustion by Animal Collective, Deerhunter, and a number of other very high-profile bands. However, unlike their contemporaries, who put an electronic gloss on classic psych and folk, Light Pollution’s basic style is closer to the grand dynamics of a band like Broken Social Scene. While Apparitions is their first album, James Cicero (the band’s frontman) and Matt Evert (the drummer) started the band several years ago when they were both students at Northern Illinois University; shortly after they both graduated and moved to Chicago, they began working on a lot of the material that became the album.
Though just a quartet, Light Pollution sound like a much bigger band, both because of Cicero’s anthemic arrangements and because the production on this album uses a lot of very pronounced reverb. “Good Feelings,” the first song on Apparitions, encapsulates a lot of what transpires over the next 43 minutes. It starts out in that epic rock vein before it wanders into a closing instrumental section. While it’s structured a little bit differently from a mine-run rock song, what most people are likely to take away is the chorus from the first three minutes. It’s songs like “Good Feelings,” as well as “Fever Dreams” and “All Night Outside,” that play to Light Pollution’s real strength, which is writing towering songs that, much like Broken Social Scene, verge on being guilty pleasures.
Like a lot of debut albums, Apparitions has a few songs that owe pretty obvious debts to other bands. “Bad Vibes,” for instance, sounds like a lot of Animal Collective’s recent work. Other songs, like “Drunk Kids” and “Deyci, Right On” never quite fall together. Still, this is a pretty good first album from a band that sounds like it’s close to getting over its influences and charting its own course.