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Luminous Crush, 'Kinds of Light'

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Published July 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated July 13, 2022 at 11:23 a.m.


Luminous Crush, Kinds of Light - COURTESY
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  • Luminous Crush, Kinds of Light

(Lonely Highway, digital)

Luminous Crush establish a prolific streak with Kinds of Light, the duo's third release since 2021. Its creators, couple Ben Campbell and Laura Molinelli, have heaps of ideas and plenty to say — and they say it particularly well through their glistening, eclectic take on dream-pop. Dream-pop isn't all they do, but it's where the new record is centered.

The new album might be the Jamaica, Vt., pair's best record yet, though I didn't arrive at this conclusion immediately. And that might be why it's the best. The 13 tracks take time to fully unfurl, the earworms boring holes into the brain's pleasure center at the pace of, well, a worm.

The new songs continue and strengthen the style that Campbell and Molinelli established on their most recent recordings: Bright, quirky songs — written, played and sung by both artists — sparkle even when tinged with a bit of darkness or difficult emotions. Though the title implies a spectrum, Kinds of Light is less fragmented than the array Luminous Crush have provided in the past. The songs fit together well, forming a honed, streamlined journey.

Luminous Crush have always made catchy tunes, but several tracks have more earworm potential than their previous songs. For instance, Molinelli tells the story of a beverage stand-funded rock-and-roll startup on the nostalgic "Pink Lemonade." Childhood memories are as sweet as the summertime thirst-quencher, and they drive the propulsive banger to its cut-time, fuzzed-out hook. "Dancing in the cul-de-sac / I just want that moment back," she sings in a wickedly constructed post-chorus.

Molinelli also takes lead on the gorgeous "Jelly Jar." Ushered in by rippling guitar, she ensures the listener's safety, collecting their tears in the titular container, reminding them that "A full moon so cold and clear / Just like your dear old friend / She stays where you cannot see her / But circles around again." Through a seesaw melody, she repeats the phrase "No one will know," a pledge of everlasting security.

Dipping into '80s pop vibes, "Not Just Visiting" rides waves of bell synth and punchy programmed drums. The pair harmonizes in reverb-soaked splendor.

Psychedelia abounds on the Campbell-fronted "Binary Star." A glorious tower of vocals coalesces with a reverent air and echoes undulating out into the ether. It sounds a bit like Zombies vocals mashed up with and filtered through Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, a winning combination.

In an album full of sweet nothings, no song lands as sweetly as the hand-drum and melodica-driven ditty "Lonely Little." Singing in blissful unison, the songwriters sum it all up: "Without you / I'm a lonely little animal / Like a picture on your iPhone / Without you / I could never be alone."

Kinds of Light is available at luminouscrush.bandcamp.com.

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