Album Review: LIGHTS – Little Machines

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Juno Award-winning LIGHTS returns with her third studio album ‘Little Machines’.

With fans patiently waiting for a studio album, Lights has had a busy three years recording the latest release, alongside getting married to Beau Bokan (blessthefall) and becoming a mother.

We are brought into the album with the calming ‘Portal’, which is also the first music video released for the new album. It seems to have remnants of second album ‘Siberia’, the one chord throughout the whole song is enticing and slowly preparing and bringing us into the new sound of ‘Little Machines’.

Next plays ‘Running With The Boys’ bringing us in with the classic synth-style we expect from Lights and with upbeat drumbeat and supporting bass line. The chorus brings in more layers with a riff on the lead guitar before dropping back at the second verse. The song is about being a kid again, with wild imaginations: “Captivated by the craze, hold your hands down“, leading with a sense of being care-free.

Lead single from the album ‘Up We Go’ is a definite mood booster track, beginning with heavy synth riffs. This song shows the positivity that Lights is known for, “from down this low, it’s only up we go“, written from a long, uninspiring winter. Accompanied in the lead-up to the album release, with an amusing one-take music video, showing random day-to-day scenarios in an elevator. No doubt that this song will get the crowd up and dancing once Lights begins to tour for the album.

You hear Lights’ giggle at the start of ‘Same Sea’ is due to her co-writer , Tawgs Salter, noticing her pregnant belly during a demo vocal for the first time. The songs talks about distance between loved ones, “no matter how far we get, oceans we are in still connect” and “they’ll come around again and bring me back to you“. The post-chorus synth is a heavy anthemic  riff that works well with the subtle “oo’s” and the high pitch vocals Lights provides.

‘Speeding’ is one of the more laid-back tracks of the album, with falsetto ends of sentences showing Lights’ vocal ability and further positive lyrics “the world in the rear-view mirror doesn’t matter” and “it feels good to be movin’ on”. This moves swiftly to the infectious synth ruling through the next track, ‘Muscle Memory’ inclusive of playful 80’s style theme.

‘Oil and Water’ is slower track on the album written about divorce and has elements of her second record with slight dubstep, yet makes for easy listening. ‘Meteorites’ has some vibrant synthpop hooks and seems to combine previous albums to make a strong vocal and musical track.

Lights wrote ‘How We Do It’ while trying to contemplate her purpose here, and how everyone wonders about their purpose with more simple, beautiful lyrics that may be an example of her growth and focusing on what is important in life; “I want to happy, I want to die in love“. The closing track on the album “Don’t Go Home Without Me” sounds like it is written for her husband, mentioning companionship and growing old together.

With bonus tracks ‘Child’, ‘Lucky Ones’ and ‘From All Sides’, the album showcases Lights’ distinctive vocals and musical talent. Throughout the album, the original synth-style we expect from Lights is evident. This record has the potential to break through and allow her the recognition she deserves.

Lights is due to return to the UK for the Little Machines tour early 2015:

23 January – The Haunt, Brighton
24 January – Thekla, Bristol
26 January – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
27 January – King Tut’s, Glasgow
29 January – Scala, London
30 January – O2 Academy 3, Birmingham
31 January – Deaf Institute, Manchester

Check out her latest music video for ‘Up We Go


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