Attic Lights were one of the biggest surprise hits of 2008 after debut album Friday Night Lights appeared on Island Records to rapturous applause. The Guardian described it as “Chiming 12-string perfection”, the NME claimed how Attic Lights “comes on like The Eagles lassoing Fountains Of Wayne to The Beach Boys” and Artrocker classified Friday Night Lights as “one of the finest guitar pop albums this year.” The Fly called it “spellbinding” whilst Uncut noted how it was “truly infectious”. Q could barely contain themselves when mentioning the “sumptuous harmonies”. Tastemakers Mojo exclaimed, “These lads really knock together a perfect tune.” Further high praise followed. The future looked bright until Attic Lights received a similarly sunny into rainy forecast as Montrose Avenue had a number of years before – that is: being highly touted and then dropped.
If the major label success was not to continue a slightly modified Attic Lights signed with Elefant records in 2012 and released the Say You Love Me EP. The four songs lovingly melded indie pop with everyone from Big Star to sunshine pop ’60s legends Harper’s Bizzare and The Cyrkle. “Since our previous single in 2009 we've changed labels, lost one guitarist, gained another, written countless new songs and recorded our second album,” states vocalist and guitarist Kev Sherry matter-of-factly. “I guess, if anything else has changed, as songwriters we feel we've got better at our craft and that we have come in to our own a little bit more and shaken off our early influences to develop a more unique sound.”
On Super De Luxe (produced by Teenage Fanclub’s Francis Macdonald) the band take the cleanest pop to even higher levels whilst adding new flavours along the way. Named after the very same jukebox brand that guitarist Tim Davidson has at home, the album itself serves up short, sharp doses of pop nirvana akin to a dream 45 collection. “We were all massive fans of Weezer and The Lemonheads growing up so that has really driven our desire for catchy melodies mixed with loud guitars,” says Kevin of things that have inspired this new outing. “The Beach Boys and Beatles/Paul McCartney are of course key but we have also recently been listening to a lot of classic soul, Motown and disco, which you can hear in tracks like ‘Future Bound’ and ‘Stay Before You Leave’ while there's also a touch of anthemic rock thanks to some Bruce Springsteen and Death Cab For Cutie.” ‘Say You Love Me’ (the album’s opening track) really is solid proof of the band’s perfect pop sensibilities; reminiscent of Camera Obscura yet more wide-eyed and innocent with a ’50s bobbysox feel about it, ‘Mona Lisa’ has an unforgettable chorus in the same school as The Cars and Red Kross and ‘Don’t You’ has something of an early ’90s buzzsaw guitar stylistic and the kind of soaring to-die-for harmonies that may well draw Teenage Fanclub and Fountains Of Wayne comparisons. “Orbison” , the aptly named tribute to Roy Orbison, has a classy foot to the floor mid-70s powerpop vibe, somewhere between a burning Elvis Costello and a red hot Raspberries, pushing the euphoria up to unknown levels. Album closer ‘Gabrielle’ is majestic, proving the Scottish band’s ability to sound tremendously contemporary and also show their love for circa 1970 Paul McCartney. It’s as if Elliott Smith is still with us.
It’s been four years since Attic Lights breakthrough yet they still maintain that very same timeless Scottish pop sensibility in an era of One Dimension, synth pop and so on. “The musical landscape is such a vast canvas these days and in general people seem to be listening to ever wider types of music,” says Kevin. “I don't think it's the same as 10 years ago when you would find exclusive little musical tribes. Nowadays the kinda thing we do sits alongside everything else...” But clearly chiming guitars will always have a place whatever the weather, won’t they? Even in cloudy Glasgow. “It’s a strange thing that coming from such a grey, rainy country so many bands are drawn towards sunshine harmony indie rock. I don't really know why it's so popular in Scotland,” laughs Kevin, “other than maybe it's the best escape from the appalling weather. And obviously we all are influenced by our local heroes so bands like Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian showed that there is an area of music there worth exploring.”
From big label money to hip Spanish indie pop mecca Attic Lights are certainly continuing to explore the possibilities of sunshine driven chiming pop and in doing so it almost sounds as if they could appeal to that whole landscape: the 10-year-old girls that follow today’s sanitized pop, daytime Radio 2 listeners and of course the gently beard stroking fans of Big Star. A light shineth!
Super De Luxe
LP (blue vinyl) / CD / Download
ER-1177LP / ER-1177
Release Date: June 2013