Making Waves of Their Own
It could be said that shoegaze and metal are two sides of the same riotous coin. Both genres can be atmospherically majestic, with enthralling sonic soundscapes that lead the mind adrift. So when shoegaze and metal tryst, the outcome is one to easily get lost in. For husband and wife duo Sarah and Mario Quintero, this creation is one they do well. The pair started out as part of the dual guitar instrumental rock band Sleep Lady, but their side project Spotlights is proving to be a powerful force. They’ve made their Ipecac Records debut with their sophomore release Seismic, and it vibrates deeply just like the geological term its named after.
Spotlights is at a point in their career where they don’t necessarily have to prove anything, but the songs on Seismic corroborate the strong grip they’ve got upon their production. The album easily recalls bands like ISIS, Nothing, Failure and the Melvins; the combination of it all being the particular recipe that works for them. The album’s title track opens up everything, serving as the appetizer for the meaty main course of the rest with a synth line intro tip toes into leisurely riffs, touching on sludgy metal. “Seismic” is almost like the short calm before the storm, with riff layers that funnel into the larger scopes of the following tracks, like the pithy beats in “Learn to Breathe” or the melodic magnitude of “The Size of the Planet.” But after these tracks Seismic becomes more of a stagnant plane of operation, where there’s still much to enjoy as far as peaks and valleys go, but the extremity is much less drastic.
Take “Under the Earth,” for example, as a higher point on the album where a grainier and bellowing vocality meets harsher sounds in an aural peak on the album, while album closer “The Hope of a Storm” teeters more on slow ambience. Even still, the variance between these tracks isn’t that grand, and if one wasn’t attentive likely wouldn’t even notice a difference at all.
Though Seismic is a good release for where Spotlights is now, the potential the duo have for even heavier, more enthralling sounds is definitely evident. They’ve already fashioned themselves more than capable masters of musical mixology, so it’ll be interesting to see how far they go with their third release.