ALBUM REVIEW: Lights – Skin&Earth Acoustic

Release Date: July 12th 2019
Label: Fueled By Ramen


With last year’s ambitious ‘Skin&Earth’, electro-pop musician Lights released a dense and unconventional record that worked coherently with its accompanying comic book series counterpart, which she both wrote and illustrated herself.

Now, a year later, the Canadian singer/songwriter is tackling an acoustic rendition of the record, through which she has taken on multiple recording techniques and visuals to not only reveal hidden layers to the existing tracks, but to also delve deeper into the original record’s concept.

Opening with an ambient introduction and delicate single notes, ‘Skydiving’ creates an intimate rendition of the haunting original. With a nuanced vocal delivery, the breaths of the vocal takes can be felt, creating an immersive experience. Still maintaining the rhythmic vocal pattern of the chorus, the track continues to rise and fall throughout its minimal structure.

With tackling various recording techniques, the rain in ‘Savage’ becomes an integral soundscape to the track. Deliberate and restrained, it peels away the defiance of the original and exposes the raw lyrical content. Utilising stacked vocal takes to re-interpret the impactful chorus; the track adds layers and variances to the already melodically rich original.

Avoiding re-using the same techniques, ‘New Fears’ gets straight to it with country-style guitars and drawled vocals, giving a swagger to the synth-led original. With smooth transitions and percussive guitar chords, the hook swims in and out, moving from vocals to guitars at ease.

Not relying on the previous compositions, the record also delivers three original cuts in the form of ‘Tabs’, ‘Lost Girls’, and ‘Down Forever’. Filled with overlapping vocal melodies, ‘Tabs’ continues to build and break tension around moving guitar melodies. Whilst compositionally simple, the songs shines a light on how intricate Lights‘ vocal melodies are when they’re pushed to the forefront.

Ending the record with the aforementioned ‘Down Forever’, melancholic guitars work against sparse lead notes as vocals lines swirl into one another. Using restraint and building melody, the short chorus pops through the layered verses and, using the last few minutes of the record to build towards vocal filled crescendo, Lights yet again proves the effectiveness of her multi-layered vocal patterns.

Taking a different route to most acoustic records, ‘Skin&Earth Acoustic’ not only delivers worthy additions to Lights‘ catalogue, but also recreates the original tracks instead of staying rigidly faithful to them.