Following well-received releases for Domino/Weird World and Mexican Summer, cosmic dub/synth pop duo Peaking Lights (Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes) issued their ambitious double LP The Fifth State of Consciousness on their own Two Flowers label in 2017. The album's 12 songs often stretch out to extended 12" mix lengths -- nearly all of them are over five minutes -- but they retain the pop focus of 2014's Cosmic Logic. Dunis' vocals are clear and up-front, rarely masked by echo or other effects, and even as she sings about dreaming under the stars, there seems to be a clear purpose. The duo's dub influences are subtle but still present, more evident in the songs' midtempo sway rather than a constant showering of trippy effects. On standout "Everytime I See the Light," they pick up the tempo and add guitars and bongo-like electronic drums, as well as light, sparkling synth arpeggios, ending up with a splendid homemade take on '80s post-punk/disco. "Love Can Move Mountains" is a little slower and has more of a bounce to it, but still has the same sort of euphoric feeling. While Peaking Lights retain a sense of hope throughout, there's a cautious undercurrent, particularly on "A Phoenix and a Fish," which seems cautious of harm being done to the environment. "Put Down Your Guns" is the album's most urgent plea for peace, love, and harmony, with sirens blaring over the song's slightly aggressive bassline and slow yet busy rhythm. Fifth State generally feels easygoing yet energetic, and informed of the state of the world while trying to achieve inner peace and enjoy life to the fullest.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2