The Lighthouse Band
‘Sweetness and Sorrow’
“Sweetness and Sorrow” is an uneven collection of work. The album has a couple of things working in its favor, most notably being the harmonies between front man Chris Trampel and vocalist Jenny Wood. Trampel’s guitar work is also, at times, a very nice highlight. The songwriting is of the solid-not-spectacular variety, with the album’s biggest artistic triumph being its ability to weave strong Christian overtones throughout the album without ever coming off overly earnest or preachy. The flaws lay mostly in production. The vocals are all nosebleed-high in the mix, often threatening to overpower everything else. Many of the tracks also have a tinny, unfinished sound to them. That might work well for a lo-fi punk act; in this case, it detracts from otherwise strong tracks like “We Fight For Hope.” CV
The Lighthouse Band opens for Blue-Eyed Son at Vaudeville Mews on June 10.
A funny thing happens on the way to “American Confetti”: Once you remove the distraction of Little Ruckus’ often inexplicable live shows, you’re left with music that’s often interesting and occasionally good. Three of the first four tracks — “Oh Oh,” “Our Weird Lives” and “Dirty Confetti” — hint at Ruckus’ greatest potential. They’re an interesting blend of electro pop-punk that’s high-energy and more than a little fun. However, as the album progresses, it moves slowly away and, at times, gets lost in a miasma of samples and vox effects. “Our Weird Lives” (the best track on the album) samples Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” in a way that’s charming and effective, but large swaths of the album’s middle include Top 40 samples with little apparent reason other than to provide a recognizable hook. “American Confetti” is 10 minutes of surprisingly good music and 40 minutes of hit-and-miss. CV