Album Review: Lights – The Listening
Rising from the streets of the Toronto new wave scene, Lights (or Valerie Anne Poxleitner as her folks know her) is about to explode into the UK charts with her recently released debut album titled The Listening.
The record is a strong collection of crisp and excellently composed original retro synth numbers which propels Lights to the top of the ‘Ones to Watch’ list.
All up the album has a weighty 13 tracks. Based primarily around synth pop, the songs showcased on The Listening make the record sound more like a greatest hits collection than a debut with all 13 tracks flowing perfectly from one to the next with true song writing craftsmanship and musical credibility – basically it’s power hungry synth bliss.
The album starts with one of the strongest numbers, Saviour. The track is the first single for the singer taken from the album and gets the record off to a great start. Its robotic Poker Face style verses are complimented by its hook laden chorus.
Drive My Soul is a beautifully arranged ballad with an exquisite chorus filled in with a subtle snare drum and keyboard center and in my opinion is the best track on the album.
Another heavy-weight on this record comes in the form of River. This one sounds like a collaboration between Lady GaGa and Swedish dance diva Robyn. It’s a gentle mid tempo track with a nice piano sequence nearing the end followed by a semi a capella ending that leads nicely to the title track The Listening, a song of self confession and personal analysis.
Ice is probably the most youthful track on the record with its boppy chorus lines whereas the following Pretend plays out a story of wanting to turn back time and aging reminiscence. It’s a poetic number with strong nostalgic lyrics such as ‘wish I were a little girl without the weight of the world’.
The Last Thing On Your Mind comes next and is a great pop track with a memorable and emotive chorus followed by an upbeat Second Go. This one has single written all over it for the Canadian singer. Pure electro-pop at its finest.
Further down the album is another prominent stand out Lions. Its guitar opening overlaid by a smooth synth backdrop makes this proof in one song why this is a singer on the rise and a genre that is making its way back into the spotlight.
Having been lucky enough to recently see Lights perform an intimate set showcasing The Listening I was taken back by the pure energy and force of the musician. What’s more is that although the album is quite computer and synth based, hearing the songs live with the singer strapped up to a keytar while letting loose her impeccable voice is an incredible experience.
This is a fantastic record and based on the work here there is no doubt that Lights is going to be the next big thing in music within the following months. The Listening is the blueprint of a brilliant debut.