10.06.13 — “I See Love” by Federal Lights

Federal Lights

If you only listen to one song today, make it “I See Love” by Federal Lights (2013, from the album We Were Found in the Fog).
Federal lights is an indie folk/indie rock quartet from Winnipeg. Sometime in 2010, Jean-Guy Roy (guitar, vocals) set out to begin a solo basement recording project. Pronounce his surname the French way. “Wah”. Like Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. Not the English way like St. Louis Blues centerman Derek Roy. Before too long, Roy’s wife Jodi (keyboards, vocals, tuned percussion) got involved. A drummer and a bassist later, they were a full band. In the spring of 2012, they released a six-song EP called Carbon. In August of this year, they released their debut full-length record via the Toronto-based label Aporia Records.

Somehow, when I was looking around the interwebs for something else related to this blog, I happened upon today’s song, and it made me very happy.

I haven’t really had very much specific focus on Canadian bands this year, but this is the kind of thing that made me start writing year-end “favourite Canadian albums” and “favorite non-Canadian albums” a few years ago when I used to write a different blog.
To that end, this reminds me of a bunch of different Canadian stuff. While some other Federal Lights songs remind me of Dan Mangan, Roy sings a bit differently on this one. On this one, his singing sort of reminds me of Win Butler from The Arcade Fire. Jodi’s vocal’s remind me of the marvelous Kathryn Calder. Before I start listing other things, here’s the song:

“I See Love” by Federal Lights

At 2:44, Roy goes in yet another direction with his vocals. For a short bit, and especially the bit between 3:06 and 3:10, he reminds me quite a lot of Murray Lightburn from The Dears.

I’m sure that I could list off a few more Canadian bands that I’m reminded of, but that’s some pretty good company right there.

Those first 22 seconds of the song seem like the perfect thing for some major corporation to co-opt in an effort to make their product seem awesome. I’m surprised that it’s not in a McDonald’s commercial or an iPhone commercial. You know the ones. “More women use the iPhone to take ‘hot dog legs’ pictures at the beach than any other phone”. I simultaneously love it and hate it when I hear a song that I really like being used in a car commercial or a credit union commercial. I may or may not get into this discussion on a different day. I’ll just leave it at this: I won’t be surprised if I hear this in a car commercial, but I hope that I don’t.

For extra credit, check out this live studio performance of the song. I’m not sure why Jodi is using a synth to play the glockenspiel parts, but it’s still pretty great.

You can buy We Were Found in the Fog from the Aporia Records web store here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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