Officially formed in 2004, NlighteN as a band exude not only innate musical talent but a potent desire to see their music energize and affect lives for God.
Spawned from a heart to serve, the band traces its origins to its Church’s praise and worship support. Tim Barton, the band’s main vocalist and songwriter, was 16 in 2001 when he began to lead worship for a 300-strong congregation at his local Church – Ambelcote Christian Centre. Consequently joined by Sarah Burrows on keys, Tim was later joined by brothers Chris and Dave Barton, Chris in his customary role as lead guitarist with Dave on bass.
This nucleus of personnel has served the band creatively since its inception with the most notable transition being Dave’s shift from bass to drums to replace the band’s short-term drummer Tom Parker, who joined the band in June 2005 and left at the end of 2006. Another fact worthy of mention is the recent marriage of lead guitarist Chris Barton to keyboardist Sarah Burrows (2008) which completes the Barton monopoly within the current band line-up.
The band’s first self-produced album release ‘The Uprising‘ (2004) was an experimental affair with atmospherics and instrumentals. It found the band beginning to define a distinct voice through songs, and unique musical material, which had emerged through their jamming sessions together. It was probably, not surprisingly, their most praise and worship formatted release but still managed enough craft to highlight from critics a popular sound reminiscent of the many British guitar-based bands on the music scene at that time.
These comparisons would continue further with their 2005 EP release ‘A Signal‘. The music with its vibrant guitar lines and incidental instrumentation would hear the band likened as Christian music’s Coldplay. No mean counterpart and, possibly a suitable observation given ‘Talk’ by Coldplay being cited as a band influence for refining their sound at this juncture. So much so that, after being passed this track by his brother Chris, Tim scrapped all the song material he had been working on as being outdated. Other musical influences such as The Killers and Bloc Party saw the band make important strides creatively with this release in delivering a new, fresh and accessible sound, acclaimed as being worthy of mainstream airplay.
2006 brought a narrowing down of the band’s sound, losing much of the experimental effects, delays and synthesizer overtones evident on the previous two releases, ‘In This Place‘ firmly categorized NlighteN as a dynamic emerging sound in Christian indie-rock. The results are without doubt the best collection of the band’s songs to date and arguably one of the best UK Christian indie-albums in the last decade. Cleaner, brighter, more confident; the guitar riffs infectious, the bass lines exquisite, guitars, beats and keys merge seamlessly, forming a melodically striking backdrop, made all the more beautiful by Tim Barton’s ability to evoke powerful considerations through his song writing ability.
The band’s growing prowess and obvious progress has not went unheeded, being able to list among achievements; regional finalists in the Lee Sounds unsigned competition promoted through NME magazine, a prestigious Stage 2 appearance at 2006′s Greenbelt Festival and support slots for Seattle band BottleRockit and the UK’s Onehundredhours.