Miles East’s blend of country with blues and soul, wrapped in surreal guitar atmospheres, and produced to perfection, is nothing short of astonishing. Between Lightning And Thunder is a marvelous listen that’s soft, sophisticated, and exceedingly polished.

A singer and songwriter based in New York City, Miles East is a storyteller and a guitarist of the highest musical caliber. Throughout his latest album, already receiving acclaim by consensus, one will find exquisitely crafted, guitar-led atmospheres, inspired melodies, stirring chord structures, and generally very solidly built and produced songs. Miles East is displaying himself as a musician with honed abilities and a balanced attitude.

For lovers of pop and soft rock with serious country tendencies, music that channels The Veils, Ray LaMontagne, or Jesse Marchant, the songs on Between Lightning And Thunder will fail right in their field. Mostly based on acoustic guitars, arpeggiated or strummed, often melancholic and down with the weather, but at times also triumphant, hopeful, or even exhilarating, one song after another Miles East deliver some of the most sweetly tuned atmospheres around in the genre today. A truly masterful display.

Miles East starts the album with a delightful one-two punch of ‘Better Than Here’ and ‘All Hands On Deck’. The former is soft and lighthearted, full of gentle guitar wails, a slow tempo, and heartwarming chords and melodies, the latter with its driving, regal riff and anthemic pace. ‘All Hands On Deck’ easily sets itself apart as one of the album’s earlier extraordinary affairs. Revolving around electric guitars, punchy and creamy in their tones, Miles East’s affinity for arranging electric guitars and choosing effects goes from good to great.

‘Lying Down’ and ‘It’s Ours To Lose’ are songs 3 and 4. Acoustic ballads, ‘Lying Down’ is a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling song that’s dramatic and vivid with colorful chord changes, while ‘It’s Ours to Lose’ is heartbreaking with melancholic minimalism and harmonic tragedy. Miles East’s guitar skills take a shift for the truly intimate and delicate on those 2 songs. The pace picks up with ‘Lucky To Be Here Tonight’, a contextually essential song to the album’s concept. At its core, the album navigates a relationship in crisis, with East singing about the apathy, the imminent danger, and the call for action, exploring the rare patches of light, and not shying away from treading the dark waters. ‘Lucky To Be Here Tonight’ is a warm ode to those around us that continue to fill our lives with purpose as it seemingly crumbles from the inside.

‘For A Sky Of Crimson’ is a modal and breezy song that’s curious and contemplative with its rich and snaking bass line and floating feel. One of the album’s more left-field songs, showcasing East’s songwriting abilities and their stunning, wide reach. The album’s penultimate song may very well be one of its most memorable. The outstanding warmth of ‘Song Of Hope’, as it calls for us not to turn a blind eye to the voices of our better selves when things get bad in a fight, is simply sweet. Doing so with a gentle pace, cozy chords, and a deep, soft groove, ‘Song Of Hope’ is a delightfully balanced pop tune that’s mature and calculated to the highest degree. ‘All I Need’, the closer, is a steady, acoustic guitar-led song that concludes the album’s concept with a message of reconciliation, and boundless musical lushness.

Miles East, an esteemed session drummer for a decade, accompanied only by Morgan and by Justin Goldner, with renowned indie producer Blake Morgan at the helm with production, have been able to craft something fascinating on this album. A 10-song trip of hope and darkness that’s easily mature enough to be stirring, and easily beautiful enough to be immersive, enjoyable, and endlessly replayable. Between Lightning And Thunder is, without a doubt, one of the year’s best indie albums.