As 2014 comes to a close, Tucson, along with much of the U.S. rock 'n' roll underground, has been besieged, or, to spin it in a more positive way, blessed with the imaginations of more psychedelic revivalist bands than ever since the style began cropping up in indie rock circles several years ago.
One suspects the trend is on its way out; much of the music suggests that a large number of artists have the same paintings in their collective subconscious minds. Like Tucson's Mute Swan (who have yet to release a recording), Wight Lhite's debut album "Beyond the Satellites" suggests a tenuous relationship to the movement and a desire to break from its limitations.
Some of Wight Lhite's strengths--odd instrumental textures and a clearer influence from English bands like The Kinks and early Pink Floyd--are admittedly minor distinctions in setting themselves apart from their brethren, but in tandem with mostly first-rate songwriting and a constant, unforced and relaxing swing to the rhythms make "Satellites" a rewarding listen.
"Laughing Tongues" may be a pastiche of laconic Syd Barrett lyrical absurdity and Roxy Music Moog doo-wop, but that hardly diminishes its power--it's expertly arranged pastiche and still a fantastic song. Similarly, "Close to Odd" borrows its shuffling beats from '90s Britpop like the Verve and laces them with disorienting synthesizers, but the almost-defeated presence of Richard Young's vocals is the feeling of the walls closing in when you know the party's really over.
And that admission gives some other tracks that could have benefited from editing and focus a pass, but more importantly, suggests that Wight Lhite has a future beyond psych and is a good band on its way to being great.
—Joshua Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org