Video Premiere: Sweet Lights’ “Are We Gonna Work It Out”

Sweet LightsSweet Lights: Sweet Lights, Sweet Lights (Highline Records / Red Eye, 9/18/12)

Following a handful of solo records and a wealth of material as leader of The Capitol Years, singer-songwriter Shai Halperin took up a brand-new identity as Sweet Lights in 2010. (Some may also recognize his name as part of the original line-up of The War on Drugs alongside underground icon Kurt Vile.) Halperin’s most recent solo effort, born out of an amassed collection of material and not enough musicians around to play it, retains the atmosphere of previous acts with foggy vocals and sugary melodies.

As a steadfast Beatles fan intrigued by creating conversations between old and new music, “Are We Gonna Work It Out” is Halperin’s response to The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out,” and it’s only one example amid a slew of such references on his new album, whose US release comes this September. The song is heartfelt and probing pop at its most impressionistic, perhaps calling to mind George Harrison’s solo work more than his famous four-piece.

Sweet Lights sounds contemporary in spite of its influences, but the video for “Are We Gonna Work it Out” highlights the question with a nostalgic and comedic montage — 1980s family-picnic-style races, with one three-legged race that ends in ambiguity.

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