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Album Review: Bishop Allen – Lights Out

2 min read

Brooklyn indie rock band Bishop Allen have finally returned from their five-year hiatus with a charming new album; Lights Out.

Ten years, three full-length albums, twelve EPs and thousands of live shows in the making, Bishop Allen’s new album paints a sanguine picture of quirky, summertime adventures destined to evoke a tantalizing nostalgia for an eventful summer evening.  Like the build up of back sweat underneath the overbearing rays of summer sunlight the dainty acoustic guitars, peppered with a bashful synth, glued together by the dreamy vocals of Justin Rice are guaranteed features of every track. However, unlike any heat-induced bodily fluids, the hazy wash of musical pop art carried throughout the album is incredibly pleasant.

Bishop Allan - Lights OutThe simple ingenuity of Lights Out lies in Bishop Allen’s ability to bring a refreshing originality to each track despite their similar composition. Subtle differences see tracks like Start Again and Why I Should Be Leaving carry an optimistic momentum subdued in the more mellowed sounds of songs like No Show. This optimism is especially manufactured by Bishop Allen’s synth, that contribute boppy sounds that belong on an old Nintendo 64 Game – aka sounds that could never sound anything less than happy. It is the lack of synth in No Show that make the song perfect for any fleeting moment of deep reflection you may ever have.

There are also rare moments of upbeat energy, not suppressed by a metaphorical summer heat. The electric guitars in No Conditions give the track a distinct vibrant energy that will get you out of your deck chair before you succumb to falling asleep under the sun and waking up looking like a lobster.

Lights Out is also blessed by the inclusion of vocals by Darbie Nowatka. The multi-talented Nowatka has the voice the equivalent of melted chocolate. Like the chocolate-strawberry combination, Nowatka’s voice mixes perfectly with that of Justin Rice.

Lyrically, Lights Out sees Bishop Allen attempt to tackle the many paradoxes associated with youth and growing up. These melancholic revelations are embedded within the overall upbeat, hopeful vibe of the album. By doing this, Bishop Allen creatively capture the underlying message of Lights Out – that it’s better to sit back and appreciate experiences as they happen than worry about when they’ll end.