Lightning Love

Lightning Love

The members of Lightning Love would really prefer not to talk about themselves. They'd much rather talk about the important subjects in life: their hometown (Ypsilanti, Michigan) their favorite breakfast (Pop-Tarts and coffee), their favorite microphone (the SM-57), their plans to get good and wasted later.

Can't hardly blame them for deflecting any attempts at self-reflection. All you need to know about Leah Diehl (vocals, keyboards), Ben Collins (guitar, vocals), and Aaron Diehl (drums, vocals), the three members of Lightning Love, is right there within The Blonde Album.

The minimal, carefully arranged, and melodic tunes within counter the delicate, twee pop with lyrics that take a clear-eyed and unflinching look at the sorrows of love, life, and the occasional drunken shit-show. Like the new wave and Britpop groups that have inspired the band, Lightning Love knows that the best way to swallow a bitter pill is to douse it in something sweet.

That has been the band's credo since its earliest days, with Leah recording demos in her basement apartment that mashed lyrics of anxiety, humiliation, and isolation up against chirpy, poppy anthems. Those tracks that made it online and struck a raw nerve with bookers around the Midwest who asked her to play some shows. Leah roped in her friend Ben and her brother Aaron to fill out the sound, and, thus, Lightning Love was truly born.

The Blonde Album is simply an extension of those same core ideas, with Leah experiencing, as she puts it, "more breakups and an immeasurable amount of anxiety" and turning those into gorgeous, catchy pop tunes.

What other band could make the pathos of "waking up and passing out" and being "mean when no one notices" sound so god damn inviting as they do on "I Know"? And who else could dress down a distant lover as a "deadbeat" and, thanks to a pulsing bit of synthesizer and a bouncy melody, make it come off as charming?

Of course, this is just the recorded guise of the band. In concert, Lightning Love's fangs come out and they turn into something tighter, louder, and faster like a goddamn cheetah.

But that's what makes Lightning Love so great: you get the acid and the sweet, the pain and the pleasure in one glorious dose. So, order up another round and don't fret if there's a little bit of drunken crying at the end of the night. There'll be lots of dancing leading up to it.