The music of the band Headlights combines electronica, chamber-folk and drone-pop, highlighted by minimalist, repetitive keyboard and guitar patterns that bring to mind Brian Eno and Philip Glass jamming with Velocity Girl. Singer Erin Fein, who also plays keyboards, escorts the band through this hypnotic landscape with enchanting vocals that hover somewhere between '60s girl groups, '70s bubblegum and classic shoegaze of the 1980s and '90s.
That description may make it seem that there is too much going on in the music of this Champaign, Ill., group. Not so. The whole affair feels spacious, with an emphasis on concise melodies and building momentum. The first two tracks, "Telephones" and "Secrets," build to robust crescendos. The fact that the group has grown from a trio to a quartet might explain why the sonic palette is richer here than on their last album.
"I Don't Mind at All" is especially cathartic, exploding near its end with guitar freak-outs that might make Sonic Youth proud, while "Dead Ends" and "Slow Down Town" are gentle, wistful and dark, not unlike the music of This Mortal Coil.
Many of the songs flirt with sadness, poignantly exploring the bittersweet nature of evolving relationships, the melancholy of growing older and the transience of life. But the dreamy joy of the music will remind many listeners of warm spring afternoons.
Headlights play with Anni Rossi and the Pomegrantes at 9 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. $7; 798-1298.