I’m driving down farmside country roads with rain tumbling mercilessly. The amplified pitter-patter on the moonroof sounds more like the dolt of falling acorns, so I decide to hit play on the tape deck.
I need something strong to drown out the sound; I won’t concentrate otherwise. Fortunately for me, Lightning Bug’s October Song starts playing, and by the time Audrey Kang’s voice takes the reins in “The Lotus Eaters,” the rain refuses to be heard and I can loosen my death grip on the steering wheel. This is a record I can sink into, no matter what.
Lush, inventive, and milky clear, Lightning Bug’s October Song sits on my shoulders like a thick denim coat. Kang and her bandmates have put together a dreamy, swirly, shoegazey collection of 9 small symphonies across this gorgeous LP. The record moves adeptly between sensory overload and sensory deprivation, from the textured cacophony in “Vision Scraps” that feels like sitting on the porch in a hailstorm, to the measured moments of near-silence that dot “The Luminous Plane.” It all comes to zenith at “The Root,” a monster track. Kang’s angelic vocals and ambient drones lull me into a state of complete fascination. I’m so transfixed that I barely register we’ve moved onto a new track until the second verse of “I Looked Too Long” wraps up.
“Lightning Bug ends gently and brilliantly, never sacrificing their commitment to intense and immersive listening experiences.”
“September Song” might be the second last song on the record, but it’s the first song in the album that actually makes me want to move, with its ballad-like rhythm inducing me to sway gently in my car seat.
Lightning Bug ends gently and brilliantly, never sacrificing their commitment to intense and immersive listening experiences. I still feel Lightning Bug’s hefty guitars bouncing in my ears well after I’ve shut it off, and much like the actual music that sticks with me, the emotions stay lodged too. My favorite line in “September Song” echoes that feeling of lodged emotion: “The memory lives in my heart.” I have a feeling that October Song will live in my heart for a long, long time to come.
Devon (he/him) is a Cleveland-based event organizer. He loves radical theory, loud guitars, and hash browns. He lives on Twitter.