Material: Rooted in Moonside, TX, quartet Thanks Light refuses to be pigeonholed into one definitive genre. Psychedelic surfer-indie one moment, and country-infused punk the next, this band pushes the boundaries of how music is expected to sound. Although their music draws from a variety of influences, the songs somehow coalesce into a uniform sonic profile that works. The unique blend of dreamy consonance punctuated by passages of jamband grit undoubtedly differentiates this band’s sound from the pack. Fresh and original, this trippy bunch have solidified their position in the music scene.
Musicianship: “Melted flowers” might seem like a curious self-description of the band’s sound; however, one listen to frontman Zane Ruttenberg’s shimmering vocals floating atop abrasive guitar riffs on single “V.I.P” and this description suddenly makes perfect sense. Ruttenberg adeptly exemplifies the volatile shifts in tone with his dynamic vocal prowess. With abruptness, he swaps soft croons for shrill howls. Farmer’s relentless bass lines amid splashy, frantic percussion by Wataha provides a groovy framework that propels the band forward. Frels’ swirling keys highlight melodic themes as well as contribute moody embellishments to the overall instrumentation.
Performance: Fans began to file inside the initially barren venue as Thanks Light began their dynamic performance. Though the stage was small, the group commanded the space with tenacity for the duration of their set. Kaleidoscopic stage lights bathed the band in an otherworldly glow, providing visuals that enhanced the sonic atmosphere. The band’s movements varied appropriately upon each shift in mood, from apathetic swaying to all-out headbanging, leaving the audience completely entranced. Passionate and earnest, the group’s stage presence effectively conveyed the fervor they possess for their craft.
Summary: Thanks Light characterize their sound as “A pinch of punk, outlaw country and surf, all rolled into a fine, psychedelic blend.” On paper, this hodgepodge of styles may seem conflicting; however, the quartet masterfully weaves together these elements into a psychotropic textile of mystical acoustics. Their latest album, appropriately titled Psychonauts, instantly transports the listener into another dimension not of this world.
The Players: Zane Ruttenberg, guitar, vocals; Foster Farmer, bass, vocals; Paul Wataha, drums, vocals; Glenn-Michael Frels, keyboard.
Photo and text by Austin Arthur
Venue: Silverlake Lounge
City: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: Zane Ruttenberg, contact@ thankslight.com