On their third haunted outing, Amber Webber (guitar, vocals) and Joshua Wells (synths) reel in their tempos to a barbiturate-induced crawl as the former’s trembling vibrato showers swirling paisley vines over the latter’s atmospheric synths. Where the duo’s first two releases peered into the darkness, Lightning Dust’s third has no problem finding comfort in it as Webber’s new-wave lyrical lulls resonate within Wells’ new synthetic palate. Slow and ominous, Fantasy is the duo’s most anxious — and adventurous — outing yet.
Aside from the closing “Never Again,” Wells has traded in his Wultizer for a digital sampler to exhume his darker aural tendencies. The chosen MPC 2000 ominously pulsates at nearly half the BPM of their four-year-old debut. The result is an unexpected, yet logical, turn for the duo whose previous two albums Webber claimed were exploring her “goth” side. Don’t worry though, Fantasy isn’t some kind of mid-side-project-crisis. The striking resemblance of Webber’s delicate and confident vibrato to Stevie Nicks’ remains just as capable of seducing the most intrepid interstellar voyager.
Fantasy’s negative space emphasizes their synthetic experimentations as female vocals waver while reciting post-apocalyptic art school anxieties laced with minimalist electro beats and sombre violin solos on songs like “In The City Tonight”. Meanwhile fervent electronic overtones accentuate the sci-fi space goddess vibe on “Loaded Gun” as Wells’ Wulitzer pulses along, heavy on the phaser, guiding Webber’s perplexion as she monologues an inconclusive debate on power struggle.
A far cry from the jovial accessibility of early anthems like “Give It Up” or the sultry cabaret duet “Jump In”, Fantasy teems with sombre and often anxious lyrics that see Lightning Dust at their most shrouded and mystical thus far. But it’s mystery that makes Fantasy worth paying attention to, a reminder of the pleasure that comes from craning your ear, to hear beyond the atmospheric din, and unveil another story with each listen.