So I’ve read, Headlights were able to fund a national tour on proceeds from CD-R sales. Now that’s good management. And furthermore, any band that can pull it off must be worth their salt, otherwise people wouldn’t be buying the hot little burned goods. And thus, the band has sparked my interest, which is why you’re reading this review right now. The Champaign, IL three-piece now has a four song EP out on their hometown Polyvinyl imprint, and it’s one fine short-player. I’m starting to understand how they sold so many discs, DIY-style—this stuff is good!
There’s more to a band than business sense, however, and Headlights are much more than good salesmen; they’re a fine bunch of musicians as well. Now, this release is quite brief, and only touches upon what could potentially be a full-length’s worth of brilliance (we’re told Fall 2006), but has plenty to offer in the way of hummable, sweet indie pop tunes. Their music has an instantly likeable quality — dreamy, earnest, accessible — it’s everything you liked about emo but with a few more memorable melodies and, generally speaking, better ideas all around.
“Tokyo” is majestic and dramatic, building up with a powerful and heroic sound, boy/girl vocals and, of course, a beautiful melody. “Centuries,” meanwhile, buzzes along with a speedier pace and guitar-strumming goodness. “Everybody Needs a Fence to Lean On” takes on a decidedly more shoegazer-sounding approach, albeit with an absolute minimum of distortion, and “It Isn’t Easy to Live That Well” closes the set with a fantastic pop anthem. And like that, it’s over. But these songs demand repeated listenings, so these 14 minutes can quickly be recycled in the interest of prolonged enjoyment.
One less forgiving write-up declared Headlights a Postal Service knock-off, but I don’t really hear it, myself. Instead, the Midwest trio celebrates the lengthy history of indie rock with their lovely and eclectic sound. It’s no wonder they were able to sell so many self-released demos.
Velocity Girl – Copacetic
Sybris – Sybris
Lilys – Eccsame The Photon Band
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.