On Spotlights third album (and second one for Ipecac) they have switched up things up a bit. First off, live drummer Chris Enriquez plays on the album, which on past albums was handled by guitarist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist Mario Quintero. Second, the band decided to produce the album themselves, which was their standard operating procedure before signing to Ipecac. (Aaron Harris of Isis produced their Ipecac debut, Seismic.) Finally, the core of the band, Mario and his wife Sarah (bass/guitar/vocals) have relocated to Pittsburgh from New York City, with Enriquez staying in his hometown of NYC.
What does this all mean?
Well, basically, it means Spotlights has put out another exciting dose of their patented heavy shoegaze. It harkens back to their first full length, 2016’s Tidals. Like Tidals, the balance between the heavy and the heady is more in sync. The heavy parts hit hard while the heady parts send flying into a state of bliss. It’s slightly different from Seismic, which seemed a little more dense sound-wise, allowing other influences to creep into their sound. It also hit a little harder. In addition, the songwriting is sharper and more ambitious. Enriquez’s drumming is equal parts power and finesse. They have once again evolved. You’ll really want to follow them on their sonic journey.
In the past few years, there have been many coming out of the woodwork, mining this “heavy shoegaze” sound, to varying degrees of critical and commercial success. It must be noted Spotlights was doing this well before this whole thing became a trend, and they do it better than most, even a few of the bands with higher profiles.
So, the third time is a charm for Spotlights, as they have released another album that mixes the heady and the heavy in an exhilarating way. In an increasingly crowded field of bands mining this sound, they stand apart. Essential.