Tiny Lights | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On those days when the thermometer tops 100 and Lake Michigan seems to shrink perceptibly in the torturous heat, one might seek out not only light food, like lettuce and Bosc pears, but also light, mildly delirious records like Tiny Lights' Hazel's Wreath, my favorite LP by a new band this year. Those looking for relief from the indie scene's boring glut of young, loud, "sincere" soundalike bands might well begin here, with a group that sounds exactly the way you would expect a band called Tiny Lights to sound: subtle, sparkly, and colorful. Theirs is basically an acoustic psychedelic sound that owes more to Love and the Incredible String Band than to anything that's come out in the past six or eight years, but it sounds fresh because these people really know how to arrange when to put down the guitar and pick up a violin or a soprano sax. Donna Croughn carries the lead-singer load with assured grace and without hogging the spotlight, and Andy Demos's less-is-more brushwork should be required listening for rock percussionists who fail to understand that playing drums quietly does not necessarily make you a wimp. Wednesday, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Fred Slavin.

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