NPR logo Viking's Choice: Native Lights, 'Blue Star'

Just In

Viking's Choice: Native Lights, 'Blue Star'

Native Lights. i

Native Lights. Jeremy Charles/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jeremy Charles/Courtesy of the artist
Native Lights.

Native Lights.

Jeremy Charles/Courtesy of the artist

Sometimes you don't know that you've missed something, like an old friend or a recipe tucked away in a cookbook, until it reappears just when it's needed. In August, I went to see Unwed Sailor's set in Washington, D.C., partly out of nostalgia. I came away not only fortified by the instrumental rock band's currency, but also reminded of primary songwriter Johnathon Ford's thoughtful, ardent bass playing; he also worked with the underrated Roadside Monument in the '90s. Without using words, Ford is a natural storyteller who doesn't force an emotional narrative. Instead, he guides it, providing a lesson that others in post-rock circles might consider.

Unwed Sailor played a new, Krautrock-inspired song that night, which makes me hopeful for another album — it's been seven years since Little Wars. But equally promising is a new band from Ford called Native Lights. Here's "Blue Star" from the Tulsa group's self-titled debut album.

Native Lights comes from a natural partnership between Ford and Bryce Chambers, guitarist and vocalist for the early-'00s astral rock band Ester Drang. Thirty seconds into a desert-swept riff, Chambers' late-night coo warms "Blue Star," a song that resides between the brooding weight of Codeine and the lush shoegaze of Slowdive. But the details blow it wide open. A cascading piano introduced halfway through punctuates a driving post-punk bridge that swirls in dive-bombing guitars. It all resolves into feedback and Ford's poignantly pummeled bass chord, along with a return to the main riff, which is now massive and full of purpose. After years of inactivity from Ford and Chambers, it's lovely to have them back, especially in such a gorgeously heavy way.

Native Lights comes out March 3 on Passive Recordings. Native Lights goes on tour in March.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.