In the third week of August 2019, along the windy coastline of southern Washington, musician and singer Audrey Kang arrived at a festival of kites. She made the stop during a trek across the Pacific Northwest, where she camped, hiked, surfed, and wandered alone in the area’s lush natural reserves. “I get a lot of inspiration from nature,” she says. “If I look at the sky and do a lot of nothing in nature alone—I don’t know. The songs just come.” The trip followed a series of endings in her life—work, love, relationships—that felt like an upheaval. Yet Audrey found peace and contentment there on the coast. “I really didn’t know what my life was going to look like,” she remembers. “But at the kite festival, I knew that each day I’d see a lot of beautiful kites, and each evening I’d watch the sunset and sleep on the beach. I felt like nothing could hurt me.”
What Audrey experienced during that trip, what she realized while watching the kites, would plant the seeds for A Color of the Sky, the third album by her band Lightning Bug. A record equally about quiet introspection and broad existential questions, A Color of the Sky reflects the journey of its songwriter emerging from intense self-doubt to find herself changed. “I trusted no one, and was very unhappy with who I was,” Audrey shares. “The key shift in my psyche was the realization that I was the sole person responsible for my life and happiness. That life holds no more and no less than the very purpose you give it yourself.” She illustrates this realization in rich emotional detail on opening song “The Return,” where unadorned guitars waver timidly over sparse drums before slowly transforming into a tapestry of synth, flute, strings, and Audrey’s soft-glowing voice.
Growth and self-acceptance have rarely sounded so otherworldly—yet still so intimate—as they do across A Color of the Sky. Lead single “The Right Thing Is Hard To Do” brings together a dreamy country motif with Lightning Bug’s boundless guitar pop to transportive effect. As Audrey examines her struggles with vulnerability and self-worth, connecting those personal issues with global ones, the music sways and glimmers like water in moonlight. It’s followed by the enchanting “September Song, pt. ii”, which embodies the crisp clarity brought on by the transition to fall. A bed of finger-plucked guitars surround Audrey’s hushed lines about the colors of sunsets, the truth that change brings—only to be swept away in a rush of pattering drums, downy synth pads, and heavy bass. It feels as much like a vivid portrait of the changing seasons as it does a cathartic psychedelic experience. Kicking off the record’s second half, “Song of the Bell” rolls in like a ghostly fog, billowing with blown-out guitar noise and haunted by layers of wispy vocal melodies. The song quickly dissipates, as if evaporated by the sun—its questions of self-actualization and fulfillment lingering in the air long after.
Unsurprisingly for an album about transforming one’s inner world, A Color of the Sky follows after Lightning Bug’s outer world changed as well. Their 2019 album October Song caught the attention of longstanding indie label Fat Possum, who reissued the LP and signed the band onto their roster. Audrey and her collaborators, Kevin Copeland (guitar, vocals) and Logan Miley (engineer, synths, textures), also added new members to their live band, who joined them in recording for the first time. Along with Dane Hagen (drums) and Vincent Puleo (bass), Lightning Bug turned a rundown old house in the Catskills into a makeshift studio. But despite the new surroundings and opportunities, some things didn’t change at all. “We stuck to the same DIY, our-own-world approach as previous records,” Audrey elaborates on their recording process. Which seems abundantly clear listening to A Color of the Sky. This isn’t a young band searching for its identity, but rather a cohesive group of artists honing their sound to perfection.
Lightning Bug recording together as a live band helped make A Color of the Sky feel more organic, dynamic, and full than their previous albums. It also enhanced Audrey’s newfound sense of clarity and confidence in her songwriting. “Songs in the past sometimes felt muddled, or I felt lost where to take them,” she elaborates. “But for this one, each song felt like a whole entity from conception.” The change is undeniable. Her voice is more pronounced than ever, the arrangements streamlined, the messages more palpable—all in service of an immersive emotional resonance. “I want listeners to explore their own interior worlds,” she concludes. “It’s about learning to trust yourself, about being deeply honest with yourself, and about how self-acceptance yields a selfless form of love.”
A Color of the Sky out June 25th on Fat Possum
For more information please contact Grandstand Media & Management:www.facebook.com/lightningbugpjs/