Spotlights – Seance EP

Few acts in the last few years have managed to offer such powerful and gorgeous music as New York trio Spotlights. With three powerful albums already in their catalog, expectations are high for their fourth full-length, Alchemy For the Dead, coming April 28th.

And if those expectations weren’t elevated enough, today the group has released the second single, “Sunset Burial”—as well as a surprise companion, entitled Seance EP.

The EP also includes the previous single “Algorithmic,” as well as three additional non-album tracks. The singles are obviously fantastic, offering up the heavy, spacious, and glittering brand of so-called “dream sludge” that they’ve built their career on. But the welcome surprise is just how solid the extra tracks are.

“Unalive” indulges itself in flavors borrowed from 90s trip hop, punctuating heavy choruses with drum glitches, crisp samples, and the always-wonderful vocal interplay of husband and wife duo Mario and Sarah Quintero. “Should Time Stand Still” is maybe the most subdued track in their catalog: an acoustic guitar fingerpicks a figure somewhere between gothic and bluegrass. But where you’d expect a crash of guitar fuzz and drums, the tension of this song are instead brought by the additions of Mellotron, synthesizers, and (I think) heavily modulated voices as the song continues on. “Your Morning Kill” is classic Spotlights, Sarah’s gritty bass lines carrying cascades of guitars and synthesizers as they climb ever skyward.

I’m tempted at this point to say something like, “so if the outtakes are this good, just imagine how good the album’s gonna be!” And yeah, this is swelling my already severe expectations. But if they had simply released Seance EP on its own without an album looming on the horizon, my thirst for more Spotlights would be plenty sated. These are hardly throwaways: every track feels fleshed out and fully realized and are worthy additions to Spotlights’ spotless catalog.

But I mean, like…if these are the outtakes…

Seance EP is out now through Bandcamp. Alchemy For the Dead is out April 28th through Ipecac Recordings.

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