In today’s music scene, it is rare to see a band made up of less than five members and each guitar playing a lackluster simplified pop-rock melody. Lights Resolve eats bands like that for breakfast.
This three-piece group from Lawrence, N.Y., are proving that less is more and, if done right, just one guitar along with bass and drums can have just as much power as a five-piece. Lights Resolve came out to the D.C. area Wednesday, Oct. 7, playing Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Va., to rock the house along with We Shot the Moon and Destry.
Although these New Yorkers are playing at much smaller venues this tour, they are no stranger to huge arena venues, opening up for bands like Dashboard Confessional, The Used and Straylight Run, even selling out the famed Bowery Ballroom in New York City as headliners. But now, after months of writing and recording for an upcoming release (yet to be determined), the guys came out to the Jammin’ Java knowing quite well that their name was not known and that they had to win the crowd over with their stage presence and passion.
Guitarist and vocalist Matt Reich said he had no problem going from playing for huge bands in arenas to shows where only 20 people show up.
“Our sound works best in arenas where it travels so far from three small guys so that is amazing, and playing small venues where no-one knows is tough,” Reich said in an interview with The Eagle. “But in both situations it’s great because it makes us work harder to win over new fans and it pays off like it did in August at the Bowery, which was a dream come true. This band is all about the uphill battle.”
Although this night in Vienna lacked the screaming fans that the other arenas had, Lights Resolve still managed to steal the show, opening with a song from their 2008 EP “Currency” called “The Hills and Michael Jackson,” while showcasing each of their abilities on their respective instruments right from the start.
Next up was “With the Pieces,” a new song still in the perfecting stages. The piece shows clear comparisons to a band that the three all look up to, Muse, who they all recently saw on tour alongside U2.
“It was probably one of the most inspiring shows we have ever seen,” drummer Neal Saini said. “We all aspire to someday reach a level of performance that they have… [and] hope to take a piece of what we saw and learned that night and make it our own and deliver it to our fans.”
The trio has been together since late 2005, after a previous band they were in fell apart. Luke Daniels came in to replace their former bassist over a year ago and has proven that he can roll with the other two, especially with his delicious bass line groove in the song “Hurt a Little.” While none of the guys had experience being a lead vocalist before, as auditioning for a lead singer went on, they realized that one of their own had the power to do it all along.
“It turned out that none of the singers [we auditioned] could sing the parts as well as I could, even though I didn’t know exactly ‘how’ to sing,” Reich said. “But we decided to give it a stab and I started taking vocal lessons and it happened naturally — at the lucky age of 23.”
Lights Resolve has never been a band that you could quite fit in any one category and the band members know this.
“Actually I think we’ve finally come up with a genre that fits us: alt-rock/nu-gaze/pop n’ roll,” Reich said.
Nu-gaze, as explained by the group, is a spinoff of shoe-gazing, a genre of the ‘90s during which bands would stare at their pedal boards the entire time playing with a plethora of effects and are extremely sound driven.
“We try to tap dance as much as possible on stage,” Reich noted.
What sets them apart the most, however, is the fact that they are a band of three.
“It would be great to have a little extra help at times, but it’s a huge part of what makes us unique, “Reich said. “We’ve figured out how to balance our sound — we make sure that our parts don’t blend in together, yet that it still balances out well. What you hear is what you get.”
This can be seen in their new single, “Dreaming of Love,” a song that will be featured in the new installment of the popular video game “Rock Band.”
Lights Resolve is not affiliated with any record label yet, but they don’t view that as a bad thing.
“We know bands that owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to labels and are lesser-known than we are,” Daniels said. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t in debt — I’ve only been in this band for a year and I’ve spent thousands already — but we owe that to ourselves, not a label looking out for themselves and not our music.”
For the past three years, they’ve done everything on their own, making their two EPs and promoting and spending every moment they can with their fans.
“It’s great getting to know the people that come to our shows,” Reich said. “They are the reason we are able to do this.”
This trio is not afraid to put themselves out there as a band and as people and their set was full of passion and interaction with the crowd, according to Reich.
“A long time ago we decided that in this band we were gonna play our hearts out, tour our asses off, and make the best music we could possible make, and be in an environment where the three of us are happy,” he said.