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Combustible Gems is out May 17, pre-order it HERE

“I didn’t think of the title ‘Dawn Hush Lullaby,’ I found it. Awhile back, I had fallen for someone with a really lovely voice who lived far away so we would be texting for hours, but I could read her messages in her voice and replay our conversations in my head. I was alone one night, scrolling on Tumblr, when I saw a post from 1934, where Wilfred J Funk listed the ten most beautiful words in the English language. The first three? Dawn. Hush. Lullaby. And that’s just how her voice sounded.” – Stephen

Lightheaded are, simply, a great pop group. Their songs are full of melody and harmony, are bittersweet and memorable, familiar yet original. Their sound is a perfect mix of jangling guitars — featuring Sarah Abdlebarry’s exquisite, tasteful, but punchy Gretsch lead played over Stephen Stec’s Rickenbacker chime — anchored to singer Cynthia Rickenbach’s Hofner Violin bass, which sounds like the bass on Michel Polnareff’s first LP.

Cynthia and Stephen write pop songs in the classic sense, and though they are young they’re already familiar with the good stuff. Cynthia wears a Gene Clark tee shirt and is a fan of Dusty Springfield, The Aislers Set, and Joan Jett. Stephen worships at the altar of Big Star, The Clientele, and The Go-Betweens. As with bands like The Aislers Set and Belle & Sebastian, you hear an aural kaleidoscope, the history pop music and the best rock and roll, in the music of Lightheaded.

Their debut LP Combustible Gems – is an LP about a band finding their sound, exploring notes, chords, and melody and making uncannily great music along the way. First single “Dawn Hush Lullaby” features an electric folk-pop sensibility that starts like a waltz, but goes into Greenwich Village pop time, like a sweet Norma Tanega tune. “Moments Notice” is a killer tune, rhythmic and catchy. It starts off like Motown or The Jam, but then Sara’s hypnotic, hooky guitar riff takes the song some place else, shooting off into soft pop heaven, like kid siblings of the Free Design.

“Hugging Horizons” is the Sound of Young New Jersey. It’s soul music, but by experimenting and playing around, they have accidentally invented some sort of New New Pop. “Because of You” ends the album on a real high, featuring Johnny Marr style guitar and some gorgeous strings. It’s poignant and sophisticated, but still eager, slightly gauche even. And as always refreshingly, wonderfully, naively sincere.

Combustible Gems is a jump into the sparkling blue water, excited experimentation, exploration, finding themselves, with the effervescence of youth that makes for great debut LPs. It has the youthful urgency of Comet Gain, the wide-eyed nostalgia of early Orange Juice, the suss and anti-macho swagger of those early Pastels singles. It yearns for something, it is an exciting, stumbling, falling, laughing , charming, great pop debut.

-Hoffner Burns, Spring 2024


3/23 Rutgers, NJ – Rutgers CoreFest w/ Frankie Cosmos
6/06 Oakland, CA – Oakland Weekender at Thee Stork Club

Combustible Gems
Street Date: May 17, 2024
Pre-order it HERE

Track Listing:

1 Always Sideways
2 Dawn Hush Lullaby
3 Moments Notice
4 Still Sitting Sunday
5 Bright Happy Girls
6 Hugging Horizons
7 You and Your Mother
8 Because of You



Slumberland Records