Lab Partners - Review for Moonlight Music:
Under the Radar

May 2, 2010

By Hays Davis

For those who pine for the heyday of shoegaze glory, the dosed spring still flows freely in Dayton, Ohio. Lab Partners have been at it since 1998, long enough to have actually started back when the vapor trails of their antecedents were ruptured but still visible, and their third album, Moonlight Music, plays like a connection to the original bloodline.

Singer/guitarist Mike Smith and guitarist Mike Volk dig deep for a healthy range of sounds, from acoustic strums to fuzzy chords to precision leads and even some sitar, enabling them to take some songs into spacey territory while echoing trippy '60s pop on others. Drummer Kevin Vaughn keeps things nicely fluid, while Amy Smith plays keyboards that sub for bass by exploring the low end of their sound while otherwise adding extra dimension to the guitar layers.

It's easy to play connect-the-dots here, as flashes of such bands as My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized surface and fade. None of that would matter, however, if Moonlight Music didn't contain a group of memorable songs that enabled its makers to establish an interstellar outpost all their own. (

Author rating: 6/10