Thursday, December 6, 2007

Saturday Night At Amnesia: The Lightning Bug Situation

Local songwriter and guitarist Brian Miller seems to have quite a bit going on: He plays guitar for Jolie Holland, is one half of The Speakers, and now is going solo with The Lightning Bug Situation. This Saturday at Amnesia will see the CD release party of the Situation's new disc "A Leaf, A Stream".

We here at H.A.D. received the disc quite a few weeks back, and at first listen didn't completely know what to make of it. The disc is aggressively intimate, with detailed liner notes, personal testimonials, and a feeling of closeness that is almost disconcerting. There is an absence of hooks that at first listen, to the pop-obsessed, seems perhaps like a weakness. However, the more one listens, the more it becomes apparent that the album is an atmospheric study: it is less a set of songs than it is a single song, or an environment of Miller's emotion.

While the compositions are inherently simple, the songs attempt to transcend their inherent simplicity through sonic experimentation. At many points they succeed, turning what could have been a typical platter of neu-folk into a far more interesting experiment. Lyrically the album is brutally forthright, and at many times the better for it. So many lyrics today are obscure or shallow that listening to A Leaf, A Stream really makes one patently aware of the personality that Miller has applied to his work. It stands to the album's credit that the listener is really challenged with a level of intimacy that is highly uncommon in today's music scene.

All of this makes it that much more interesting to see what will go on at Amnesia on Saturday night. We have no idea how Miller will take the album he's crafted and turn it into a live experience, but we have to admit we're damned curious.