Lights - Siberia album review

by - Saturday, December 10, 2011

currently: so glad for weekends.

This girl is gorgeous.

Boyfriend thinks it's funny that I always admit to having a girl crush on musician Lights. But I can't help it, I admire her music and her style. She used to be my small Canadian secret that no one else really knew about. That is until this new album Siberia dropped. Now everyone seems to know about her. I'm a bit jealous - it means she's getting shared by others. But in other ways, I'm glad cause she deserves to be listened to (even if that place may be somewhere like clothing store Glassons...I hope I never have to hear her played in Supre.) Anyway, waiting for November 7th took ages for me (darn NZ and it's delayed shipping date) and since the weekend I got it, I've been playing this album ever since. It's just that good.

Lights - Siberia
Rating: A-

Canadian synth electric princess, Lights, is a sweet powerpack of sound. No longer holding to the clean electro-pop sound that showcased on her first album, The Listening, Lights now evolved with her second album roughened up with a bit of grit and grunge. A heavy influence of dubstep, Siberia welcomes a better layered and more daring sound. With this, the development of vocal strength and confidence from the (current) Miss Lights Poxleitner elevates and defines this album from her debut.

From the start, the title track Siberia punches sound in loudly with the bass. An abrupt start, Lights contrasts this, bringing in smooth melodic vocal musings. Lyrically, Lights can be a bit repetitive, and melody wise it can be a bit thin, but the drive for this song comes from the heavy bass. It sounds fantastic through a set of loud speakers, and is pretty catchy to listen to.

The following track, Where the Fence is Low, is a stellar song. It’s tripped up intro and poetic lyrics compliment each other into something mesmerising, with the main lyric “the fence is low” so distinct and resonating. The layers of synths and the chorus’ dub step uniquely stand out. Lights knows when to hold back the dub step in the right places too, playing with the song’s natural rise and fall.

This then smoothly transitions to the ever so catchy Toes (featuring electronica band Holy Fuck). Strong beats, catchy melody and happy lyrics makes this song the album’s anthem track. The layers of synths and drums again compliment Lights’ vocals, which feel much more varied and stronger with confidence than her last album. Holy Fuck definitely seemed to have contributed a positive influence over this track.

Holy Fuck also contributes in the song Everybody Breaks a Glass. A real gritty dub step track, so many contrasts are playing and working together. From Lights’ strong vocals in a dub step heavy verse, to the soft melodic vocals in a light, fantasy like chorus, and then to hip hop artist Shad and his crisp rap – all suit perfectly together and make it stand out. Shad also appears in the fantastic song Flux and Flow where Lights vocal strength really shines amongst the heavy bass.

On the other end of the electronic spectrum, Cactus in the Valley is the closest to being an acoustic track on the album. With soft vocals and a slow delicate melody, it’s a refreshing break from the all the heavy dub step and bass tracks.

While I really enjoy and love many of the songs on this album, there are a few I don’t particularly favour as much. And Counting… is a track I’d consider as “energy sucking”. A bit dreary, repetitive and forgettable, the melody and singing just feels a bit flat and tired. This emphasised especially when it follows punchy beat strong songs like Flux and Flow and Fourth Dimension.

I’m also unsure how to feel about Day One, the last track on this album. While I believe all albums should have peaks and dips in beat for variation, it should never end on a dip but on a strong finishing track. Day One isn’t really a strong track, and frankly I don’t even consider it a song. Recorded live in an eight minute synth playing session, you would need to be a major synth/dub step lover to appreciate this track. And I am not one of those lovers. It’s not horrible, but it’s also not really necessary to listen to.

Despite this, the positives outweigh all the negatives. The choice to use dub step and heavier bass is well fitting and provides more dimension to her music. The way Lights’ vocals have evolved has given her a better varied sound and (thankfully) lacks the auto tune she had in her last album (she doesn't need to use it). She’s come miles from her debut; I’m going to be very excited when she releases her next album.

Stand out tracks: Siberia, Where the Fence is Low, Toes, Everybody Breaks a Glass, Flux and Flow
For people who like: Owl City, Deadmau5, MGMT, Zowie, The Naked and Famous

Lights - Toes Official Music Video

Lights - Everybody Breaks a Glass Official Lyric Video

Lights - Live performance of Where the Fence is Low
(I love her little gangster moves in this live performance)

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2 comments

  1. I really like the way you wrote this review. I run an independent music review site and we are seeking new writers. We supply the music! If you would be interested in doing some more writing drop me an email - mike@emurg.com

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  2. I think the best way to listen to Day One is to lay down in the dark with headphones on, just listening to it. It's actually pretty beautiful to me in a way, but only if you can actually pay attention to it

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