LIGHT POL­LU­TION Ap­pari­tions (Carpark Records)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Robert B. Ker

On first pass, Light Pol­lu­tion seems to be a mis­lead­ing name for Chicago song­writer James Michael Cicero’s band. If any­thing, his mu­sic sounds as if it could serve as a foil for that un­nat­u­ral glow over our ur­ban ar­eas. Rather than en­velop­ing you with hazy at­mo­spher­ics (though there’s some of that), Ap­pari­tions boasts a glim­mer­ing, ex­pan­sive sound, as if Cicero is pulling back the cur­tain of light pol­lu­tion and reintroducing us to the majesty of the Milky Way, star by star. And on songs like “Deyci, Right On,” with its dense or­gan, am­bling drum fills, and alien key­boards, you can even see the Dark Side of the Moon. Opener “Good Feel­ings” un­folds like driv­ing on a high­way at night, with the bro­ken line of the cen­ter stripe puls­ing un­der­foot and the re­flec­tive green signs ap­pear­ing out of the dark­ness and flash­ing briefly in the head­lights be­fore re­ced­ing. Clos­ing track “Sss­low­dreamsss,” with its shuf­fling shoe gaze, may be the most aptly named song I’ve ever heard. And per­haps the band is ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled, as well: one of light pol­lu­tion’s byprod­ucts is that your sleep cy­cle is thrown off and you be­come dis­ori­ented. Ap­pari­tions of­ten leaves you un­sure of ex­actly what you heard but ea­ger to hear it again.

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