Lights | Midnight Machines | Rating : 10/11|
As the name implies, Midnight Machines is a gentle lullaby of an album. Imagine a nighttime breeze whispering dreams into your ears, revving up your imagination with delightful stories. Throughout her career, Canadian artist/synth-rocker Valerie Poxleitner (aka Lights) has proven that her songwriting is so strong that it can be showcased in two completely different genres: electro-pop and acoustic singer-songwriter. The scary thing? She slays both genres, equally, and that’s a hard feat to accomplish.
Featuring acoustic, stripped-down versions of songs from 2014’s Little Machines, Midnight Machines is more than just a simple acoustic retelling of the former hastily slapped together as many acts have done, released simply for profit: Midnight… is arranged with such precision and skill that it is capable of pulling completely new heartstrings, even for listeners who have heard the original versions hundreds of times.
That’s what makes Midnight Machines a standalone album. If this record were a listener’s introduction to Lights, they would not be disappointed with its craftsmanship and emotional depth. The arrangements are filled with organic instruments – ambient drums, acoustic guitar, piano, strings, and hints of synth-pads – which is a far left from Lights’ other albums, yet filled with just as much passion and energy.
Some of the album’s highlights include “Same Sea” which features ambient vocals layered with reverb, much like the waves lapping against the shore, building to a crescendo of strings and beautifully haunting background harmonies. This arrangement is a polar opposite from its original electro-pop version and it works flawlessly, almost as if the song was arranged to be solely acoustic in the first place. And “Running With The Boys” is upbeat, charming, and positively carefree, and the acoustic guitar counter-melodies featured in the chorus are simply uplifting.
Midnight Machines is heartfelt, sincere, and – most importantly – honest making it a great stepping-stone for new Lights fans to hop on, and a treat that hardcore Lights fans will cherish.