Siberia (Acoustic) by LIGHTS | Album Review
Having made her mark with her dreamy yet catchy brand of synth pop with ‘The Listening’, LIGHTS aka Valerie Poxleitner is back. This time, stripped down and sans synthesizers.
In 2009, the Canadian singer released her debut album. Despite what NME had to say about it (they called it “insipid and devoid of heart, soul or point”), LIGHTS released her sophomore effort in 2011, ‘Siberia’. This time, she had the last laugh as the album was much better polished and less auto-tuned.
Enter 2013 and now the wife of Blessthefall vocalist Beau Bokan, LIGHTS return with an acoustic album of ‘Siberia’. Simply titled ‘Siberia (Acoustic)’, her latest offering is chock-full with tracks that showcase her vocal work effortlessly.
Stripped down and slowed down, LIGHTS is one with her guitar. Trudging on the same-same but different path, Siberia (Acoustic) features more collaborations. An example is the lead single, ‘Cactus In The Valley’, that features her long time friend, Owl City. It has to be said that Owl City’s naturally uplifting voice broke the monotony of the song and steered it away from being too gloomy. After all, the original has a rather depressing feel to it and talks about needing a helping hand.
Another collaboration worth mentioning is ‘Peace Sign’. Done with French-Canadian singer, Coeur de Pirate, the track is given an entirely new feel as both artists take turns singing in English and French. Immediately, the track stands out from the rest. This simple addition of a foreign language highlighted the meaningful lyrics, making the song go from ordinary to ethereal.
Moving on to solo pieces, ‘Flux and Flow’, that was originally fast-paced and futuristic sounding, was given a makeover. This time, in place of an 808 Drum, LIGHTS employed the use of string instruments to add innocent tones to this number. Easy guitar riffs fill the void where a heavy dubstep bass beat once was in the song, ‘Suspension’. Primarily, the focus is on LIGHTS’ vocals that carry the song perfectly. Indeed, this is one of my personal favourites.
However, there are a few tracks that just sounded regular such as ‘Banner’ and ‘Heavy Rope’. Given that the original version of ‘Heavy Rope’ was already minimalistic and sung rather somberly, there is only so much that the acoustic version could do.
Acoustic albums have a notorious reputation for being predictable. After all, they are just remakes of old songs right? But with little tweaks and collaborations that added more variety, LIGHTS has managed to transform an acoustic album bound for mediocrity into one worth taking note of.
Text by: Atika Lim
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