In this so-called digital age, things are steadily becoming easier to make. Music is no exception. What once required a full studio band can now be made in someone’s bedroom with software on a laptop. However, in minimalizing the effort of crafting music, we may have accidentally forgotten about the intrinsic quintessence of live instrumentation. Never fear, for here arrives indie soul group Blacklighter. With their newly released, self-titled debut EP, they seek to remind listeners what music played by real musicians sounds like.
Blacklighter is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Jonny Shemz. He formed the collective last year in Los Angeles with fellow musician and producer Asi Spector. It’s not his first experience in the music business, though. In fact, Shemz has been performing and composing his own music since his teenage years. Now, Shemz is ready to present his vibrant sound to all available listeners with Blacklighter, the first EP in a series of three that the group is set to release.
Blacklighter Takes Listeners on a Sonic Journey
The track “Time and Space” opens with loud, rowdy guitar riffs and booming drumbeats. They are quickly joined by the additional percussive sounds of tambourines, cowbells, cymbals, and woodblocks. Meanwhile, funky, groove-laden bass lines and Shemz’s soulful, emotive vocals add a dose of R&B-style smoothness to this piece. As the song presses forward, it’s intersected by interludes of deep, resonating piano chords and warbling synth melodies. When these elements are all wrapped up together, they give the song an animated yet broody tone.
The song “Friday Faith” carries the same energetic spirit as the previously mentioned one. Starting with pounding drums and cymbals, resonant bass riffs, and driving, forceful guitar riffs, it instantly announces itself as a boisterous song. It’s then layered with piano chords and pulsing, droning synth riffs. Also worth mentioning are the resounding vocals from Shemz. They bear a striking resemblance to the vocal style of Prince in the early 1980s.
Then there’s “Altar.” Emphatic drumbeats, clangorous cymbal crashes, and throbbing bass riffs create a head-bobbing rhythm. At the same time, jagged, slashing guitar riffs glide over this catchy rhythm and add a bluesy feel to the song. Coupled with these puissant riffs are expressive, wailing vocals. When combined together, they give this song the vividness of funk, the vibrancy of gospel, and the robustness of classic soul.
With their newly released debut EP, the self-titled Blacklighter, Shemz’s latest project displays the kind of raw emotion, power, and artistic skill that can only be shown with real, live music.