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Lights
The Listening
Sire Records
www.iamlights.com


Valerie Poxleitner, a.k.a. Lights, has a girlish lilt like Gwen Stefani with weighty kicks emblematic of Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia. Lights' recent release The Listening offers ambient synth tones with an ethereal-pop glare reminiscent of The Wishing Tree, producing an album that has the effect of assuaging ruffled emotions and calming the senses.

The songs remind me of a deep sea expedition in that every track contains its own aquarium of specimens. The entire album is sealed with a lounging fluidity as every song has its own distinct traits and detailing. Looking at the title track, the melody has a dreamy, chill-out tempo which shifts into a string of bubbly jolts across "Ice" producing a wave of catchy dance beats. Some tracks are soothing and reflective like "Pretend," contrasting those numbers which induce action along the reams of jetting ripples like "Loins!" The lyrics are personable and relatable to ordinary lives like in "Pretend" when Poxleitner ponders, "It would be nice to start over again / Before the world ends." A majority of the album follows an easy listening model with a slight electro-pop glint that isn't overpowering but tempered for mainstream audiences.

The Listening is a product of electro-pop's evolution coming to a point where mainstream meets club-inspired pop. The calming flow of the tracks have a folksy feel coated in electro-pop shimmers which exude a modern dance look. Harking a modern chick-flix voicing, The Listening is like a sedative injected into the senses with lyrics that show an awareness of mistakes made while looking for a way to heal the wounds.

-Susan Frances

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