The Love Lights – Team Honey
Dust off those dancing shoes folks, The Love Lights are back! The local vets recently released their third full-length record, which, including a smattering of EPs, credits the band with six stellar releases beginning with 2007’s Problems and Solutions. Rummaging through the band’s discography reveals a constant willingness to experiment and add to their sonic palate, usually successfully. The More Dead Than Y’All EP (2007) shows off the freak-pop and alt-country chops of lead vocalist and guitarist Rob Stauffer and company; full length number two, Young Lions (2008), continued the guitar and vocally driven songs characteristic of Problems and Solutions but also featured a more prominent horn section, solidifying the heavy soul influence as a band staple. Team Honey finds that the band has managed to navigate gracefully between soul and rock influences, sometimes within the same song, and is continuing to churn out lyrically intriguing and often time’s incredibly danceable tunes.
There are hints of medieval or Baroque-like qualities about the opener “Benediction (Theme from Team Honey,” and introduces the Love Lights’ horn section, credited to Jeremiah Austin (trumpet) and Dianna Austin (baritone sax) on their Band Camp page, who play a delightfully prominent and versatile role throughout Team Honey. Standout track “Come On It” begins with an effected, lo-fi horn intro reminiscent of old-timey radio, until a crescendo signals a clearer tone. Drummer Alex O’Farrell and bassist Jeff Ballew kick in to complete the Motown -esque introduction and as the horns fade out Staffer’s lyrics begin to earnestly address fears of stagnation, a record-spanning theme.
“Hard Enough” may be the records clearest single and features a bouncy piano that accompanies the rhythm guitar while Ballew lays down an impressive piece of bass work during the verse. This culminates in a collective vocal effort lamenting how it’s “getting hard enough, just to pull it off,” perhaps an acknowledgement to the difficulties of maintaining a productive band for more than half a decade. Tracks like “Speak”, “Runtitled”, and the folksy sing-a-long “I Can’t Get Your Meaning” highlight Stauffer’s melodic prowess without abandoning the tonal textures established elsewhere in Team Honey.
I was lucky enough to catch the Love Lights’ set when they opened for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings last November, by the end of their set there couldn’t have been a dry brow line or armpit on the dance floor. This passion for playing music together is again evident by the band’s decision to provide Team Honey at no cost via their website (though you really should donate…), do yourself a favor and cash in on some more Bellingham gold.