HI-LITES, THE: Self-titled: LP

On the surface, this looks like the typical lo-fi garage rock record. It’s got a retro design with images of vampires and ghouls all over the cover. As soon as the needle hits vinyl, however, it becomes clear that there is nothing typical about this record. There’s no goofy, ghoulish rock’n’roll. The true theme here is the sea. But it goes deeper than that. In songs with titles like “Lighthouse” and “The Fall and the Shipwreck,” boats and the sea really only serve as metaphors for finding clarity, for searching for meaning and truth amidst life’s complexities. It’s thoughtful stuff, and so is the music itself. Not content to just stomp and be fuzzy, the band creates a dense tapestry that really pulls you in and makes you feel the waves and smell the salt of the sea. It’s very powerful.

 –MP Johnson (Purepainsugar)