In the realms of New Wave, Post-Punk, Indie Pop, and everything melodically sunny and sweet, the Lightning Seeds is certainly a luminary and a purveyor. Frontman/Singer/Chief Songwriter Ian Broudie, after all, came from a long lineage of musical legacy and royalty. Born on August 4, 1958, in Liverpool, England, he was a part of the legendary bands Big in Japan–whose other members included Bill Drummond; David Balfe; Holly Johnson, eventually of Frankie Goes to Hollywood; and Budgie, later of Siouxsie & the Banshees–Original Mirrors, and the short-lived but iconic Care (with Paul Simpson of The Wild Swans) prior to his ultimately launching the Lightning Seeds in 1989.
Apart from his side projects (producing records by fellow artists operating within the same sonic sphere such as Northside, Sleeper, The Coral, The Zutons) as well as occasional solo outputs, Broudie is still able to pursue making music with the Lightning Seeds–with a studio discography of six albums, from 1990’s Cloudcuckooland to 2009’s Four Winds. Now, thirteen years later, the band is ready to unleash the long-awaited follow up.
Forthcoming on October 14, 2022, via BMG Records, the Lightning Seeds’ new offering is titled See You in the Stars, and it is a delectable collection of jangly and synth-driven Pop songs full of minuet-inspired melodies. Consisting of ten songs, it opens with the pretty plucks and jingle-jangle of the rather lyrically pensive “Losing You.” This is then followed by the drenched jollification of “Emily Smiles”; co-written with Terry Hall (of The Specials, Fun Boy Three, and The Colourfield), it serves as a soft backdrop to Broudie’s ever silky voice. “Green Eyes” then prances proudly and purely, casting some throwback-confetti spells. And then The Lightning Seeds turns serious and reflective with the ensuing “Great to Be Alive” – written with The Coral’s James Skelly.
All this in mind, surely the album’s celebratory moment comes with “Sunshine” which is simply a Baroque-inspired confection of wonderfully interwoven strings and horns. The band then relaxes the ambience with the slow ballad “Fit for Purpose,” invoking sonic spirits of the late-’60s Sunshine Pop era.
Another feel-good, happy-sad, guitar-oriented tune comes next in the form of “Live to Love You”–heartfelt, romantic. And then there is “Permanent Danger”–a slight change of style, with its countryside twangs and trot. With the poignant “Walk Another Mile”–a song about the end of a relationship–the listener is treated again to something familiar. Finally, Broudie and the rest of the Lightning Seeds wrap up their latest album with its title-track, a song inspired by the death of a friend of Broudie.
Broudie may be regarded as the antithesis of a typical Rockstar (or Popstar for that matter) –soft-spoken, unassuming, and does not indulge in the trappings of the so-called Rock-n-Roll lifestyle. Instead, he channels all his creativity and energy into coming up with wonderful works of aural art not only for the Lightning Seeds but also for others. See You in the Stars is definitely another credential added to his résumé, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.