Leather Uppers

Bright Lights

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Bright Lights Review

by Mark Deming

Who says dreams don't come true? The Leather Uppers broke up in 1995, not long after they released their sole album OK, Don't Say Hi, but after playing a handful of reunion shows in 2003, the best-dressed Canadian garage punk power duo on Earth have been back in action and have now seen fit to give the world a second full-length album, and Bright Lights manages the impressive feat of rocking harder and sounding wilder than they did back in the day. While O.K., Don't Say Hi was recorded during the Leather Uppers' short-lived incarnation as a three-piece, Bright Lights strips them back down to a duo, with Craig Daniels and Greg Tymoshenko trading back and forth between guitar, drums and howling, and though the results sound just a bit more polished than the group's earlier stuff, that's a relative thing -- Bright Lights is still loud, frantic and gloriously untamed despite a slight boost in fidelity. On Bright Lights, the Leather Uppers are all about the party, and if titles like "Sexy Time," "Scream If You're High," "Bigger Than a Breadbox" and "Sexy Wizard" (yep, two sexies for the price of one!) give you a good idea of what to expect, they don't give a clear picture of the sweat-soaked guitars and pounding drums that bring these hard-swinging tunes home, and Daniels and Tymoshenko crank these jams like they're playing for a sold-out crowd numbering in the thousands. And even if you can't hear it, the fact Daniels has better sideburns than you do really does make a difference. Bright Lights is thirty minutes of pure aural flame throwing, and it's a fine thing to have this band back at full strength; if this doesn't get the room shaking at your next party, nothing will.

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