St Lucia’s debut album When the Night is easily one of the best albums of 2013. It’s an expertly crafted album, and it’s outrageously clear that the members of St. Lucia are passionately devoted to their musical craft. This album has been a long time coming, but its arrival feels just right.
St. Lucia is a band based out of New York. While the live band consists of five members, St. Lucia is the vision of multi-instrumentalist Jean-Phillip Grobler. The band has its roots placed firmly in the hipster mecca of Brooklyn, however Grobler grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and spent much of his childhood travelling the world as a member of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir. While Grobler clearly had an unusual childhood, this worldly influence has found its way into the music of St. Lucia making for a sound and feeling that is incomparable to any other indie band.
As the winding intro to the opening track The Night Comes Again takes hold, you’re immediately captivated and strapped in for a joyous sonic ride. The album moves through a wide array of emotions, but all are rooted in an anthemic cheer. Although When the Night begins like a rocket, the album maintains a steady momentum throughout the 11 tracks. At its halfway point, a few tracks from the bands previously released self-titled EP find their way into the album, but they are all welcome inclusions. I still get chills when listening to All Eyes on You. While it’s with this track that the album takes a slower turn, there’s nothing mournful to be heard here. Even the songs with slower tempos will make you want to throw your hands in the air with joyful abandon. Although the album takes a dip in speed around the halfway mark, by the time September kicks in your feet will be sore from dancing. This track is a brooding and stomping rhythmic dance through the jungle, and that seems to be the best description for the album as a whole.
When the Night is a euphoric album through and through, and that’s what St. Lucia is best known for curating. The lead single Elevate is gloriously cheerful, in that it could bring the sun out on the rainiest of days. The groovy instrumentation makes tapping your foot to the beat simply not enough. The musicality found with St. Lucia is diverse on every track, yet always transports you to a tropical paradise. At times it sounds like the best of the 80s, while always keeping an undeniable futuristic swagger. Although the songs on When the Night are rooted in electronic beats, it’s the nurtured voice of Grobler that takes these songs to the next level. Essentially, When the Night is the album Passion Pit (and the similar brethren of bands) have attempted to make since the surge of indie pop music took the world by storm just a few years ago. Many bands have had their stab at it, yet none are doing it as well as St. Lucia. When the Night serves as the St. Lucia’s debut album, yet listening to this group feels like listening to a seasoned band who’s been around for ages. With the success of this album serving as an indication, let’s hope St. Lucia returns to take us on another vacation.
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