When you first hear the Red Lights, you might guess they hail from New York, Los Angeles or maybe San Francisco. Their debut EP, Not In This Town, sounds like it could be collection of losts Strokes songs. When Dean Valentino says the words “last night” in “Dancing With Us,” the EP’s final track, it sounds almost identical to when Julian Casablancas says the same two words in the Strokes’ “Last Nite.”
But, the Red Lights are from a city about as far from the United States as you can get – Melbourne, Australia – and the Strokes aren’t listed on their Facebook page as an influence. The three-piece instead lists Hall & Oates, Rick Astley and the Baha Men.
Despite the bizarre influences, Not In This Town is a spectacular debut with no resemblances of “Never Gonna Give You Up” or “Who Let The Dogs Out” whatsoever.
Just five songs and barely 16 minutes long, the EP opens with “This Just In,” a garage-rocky song that shows off Valentino’s voice and Davin Johnston’s drumming. It is a bit hard to hear exactly what Valentino is saying at times, maybe because of the lo-fi sound the vocals have or maybe just because of his Australian accent.
“In A Daze” shows off the band’s final member, Dave Liistro, with a dominating bass rhythm. “Sun Finds Us” combines all of member’s talents, alternating between screeching guitars and a catchy chorus.
The one flaw with Not In This Town is a lack of differentiation. Each of the five songs is good, yet none really stand out. Switching one out for something synth-y and danceable or a slower ballad would have been nice, but for a band that just formed a year ago and still doesn’t have an official website, the Red Light’s did pretty well.
Every few years, a great band from Australia gets their big break in America. Silverchair. Wolfmother. Jet. If the Red Lights keep doing what they’re doing, there’s a good chance they’ll be next on that list.
Tags: AUSTRALIA, brian benton, Not In This Town, Reviews, The Red Lights, THE STROKES