by / July 22nd, 2010 /

Lite – Illuminate

 1/5 Rating

(Transduction Records)

Lyrics – who needs them? Judging by the almighty spike in popularity of instrumental bands recently not many it seems. From all-conquering northern heroes ASIWYFA to emerging talents like Enemies, a lot of bands are content to let their instruments do the talking.

So to this, the latest album from Japanese instrumentalists Lite which sees them expanding their sonic palette from 2008’s well-received Phantasia album. From second track ‘Image Game’ it’s clear it’s done them the world of good. Swirling synths weave in between the rock solid rhythm section and repeated guitar motifs to great effect.

They take things from jerky math-rock to laidback jazz-inspired funk on ‘Andromeda’ with sweet vocal pads underpinning a gently rolling baseline,calling to mind bands like Tortoise, whose own John McEntire recorded five of the eight tracks with the remaining three helmed by J.Robbins, the man who tamed our own Adebisi Shank on their debut long player.

Elsewhere ‘100 Million Rainbows’ insistent guitar arpeggios and synth stabs show a band coming alive to immense effect, culminating in a squall of noise, whereas on ‘Tomato’ a ludicrous slap bass line eventually gives way to a disco stomper; convention is clearly not on the menu for these guys.

‘Vermillion’ rounds off this all too brief look into the wonderful world of Lite with pretty picked guitar and lolloping drums transforming into a twin lead guitar-led romp to the finish line.

Judging from this, it’s clear that Lite’s strength lies in their ability to grab the listener’s attention by way of building an atmosphere within a track rather than all out instrumental bombast and they’re all the better for it.

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