Canadian singer/songwriter Lights is back with her fourth full-length album, ‘Skin & Earth’, a dynamically rendered concept album that balances a post-apocalyptic, comic book inspired story line, where each of the album’s 14 tracks correlate directly to a chapter of the six-issue comic book that was released in tandem with the album. A long-time fan of comics, Lights impressively taught herself how to write, draw, and produce comics whilst working on the music for record. But, even if people never check out the comic, the album still works as its own entity and project, featuring some of her most emotive and powerful songs penned to date.
Beginning with the aptly titled ‘Intro’, Lights creates an ambience for the record to follow. The highly synthesised and unintelligible words lead the listener through to first track proper, ‘Skydiving’, which is a powerful electronic track. From laser-beam synths and pounding beats to sharp guitar riffs and incredible bass lines, the track moves us along with cinematic pacing. Similarly, ‘New Fears’ and ‘Giants’ reinforce this infectious beat and electronic production aesthetic. All these tracks highlight Lights‘ incredible vocal range and talent, singing her heart out with clean cut and powerful vocals.
Mixing it up a little, ‘Morphine’ and ‘Until The Light’ showcase the more vulnerable and emotional side of ‘Skin & Earth’. Much of this is to do with the more R&B-tinged production. Also vital, although not limited to these cuts, is the impressive lyrical content. We’re introduced throughout the album to the joy of free falling within finding new love, but we’re also brought to the cold hard ground through other tracks, particularly ‘Savage’, which features some guest drum work from Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. With a slower tempo and a mildly menacing guitar intro, this song captures the agony of being rejected. The comic’s conceptual storyline informing the production presents the album with an emotionally pleasing arc, and, although the lyrics aren’t incredibly poetic or challenging, they encapture a raw sense of emotion, moving the audience to emphasise with everything that Lights conveys through her fictional post-apocalyptic world.
From start-to-finish, Lights has created a solid record that has an incredible sound. Each track is equally as captivating as the next with incredible vocals and melodies, proving once again that she can deliver a powerful record. An ambitious project when you consider what it encompasses, ‘Skin & Earth’ is a stellar effort, and ensures that the future remains bright for the Canadian songstress.
Written by Hannah Strong (@hannaah_strong)