RIYLI don’t actually have a good RIYL for this except dubstep w/female vocals
2. Where the Fence is Low
5. Everybody Breaks a Glass
6. Heavy Rope
7. Timing is Everything
8. Peace Sign
9. Cactus in the Valley
11. Flux and Flow
12. Fourth Dimension
13. And Counting
14. Day One
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My first exposure to Lights was a mention in Bill Lohr’s Bring Me the Horizon review from last year and her guest spot in “Crucify Me.” My second exposure to Lights was an episode of EpicMealTime. My third exposure to lights was Siberia, which I checked out solely because I felt guilty that her name has been on my tongue more than her music had been in my ears. It was a serendipitous decision, because while Siberia fell flat for me on my first listen, it’s been clawing at my brain stem with the ferocity of a cult classic ever since. But before I sing the praises of her sophomore release, allow me to set the stage with a quick discussion of her earlier material.
Namely, how on earth did she gain any traction with her old material?! After I heard Siberia, I worked backwards through her discography and discovered that ye olde Lights was saccharine-sweet electro pop with original software Macbook beats worse than those on Claudio’s Prize Fighter Inferno album—in other words, it was a manlier version of Owl City. To say that Siberia is a drastic improvement and a real maturation is to undersell Lights’ evolution. And I’m glad. Collaborating with Holy Fuck, Lights has rebuilt her sound, transforming it from glorified Disney-pop into a diverse and ultimately interesting melting pot of drum and bass, synthpop, and indie with a definite atmosphere and depth that even snobs with taste can enjoy without reservations.
Album opener and title-track “Siberia” showcases Lights’ new vocal delivery—more dulcet and restrained— and just drips with modulated bass and her characteristic spacey synth effects. It isn’t quite until the next song “Where the Fence is Low” when Lights’ evolution kicks in more ostensibly, with a dubsteppy punch beefing up the otherwise low-key chorus. However, lead single “Toes” is in a league of its own, a thumping, electronic, heart-endingly catchy piece of aural heaven. And much of Siberia follows suit. “Everybody Breaks a Glass” is another exciting track, sporting a delicious, staticy, heavily modulated mess of a beat and a guest appearance from fellow Canadian Shad. Now, there are a few throwaway tracks— “Heavy Rope” and “Peace Sign” feel redundant and underdeveloped, but for every misstep there’s a track like “Flux and Flow” with its absolutely huge, distorted chorus that more than makes up for them.
It’s pretty clear that on Siberia Lights is riding the coattails of the influx of dubstep, which, depending on just how chic the genre stays, may kill the album’s staying power. But even if dubstep collapses under the colossal weight of the banginest, heaviest drop in the next few minutes, there’s a core of quality songwriting at the heart of Siberia. All that aside, at this very moment, Lights has it right. Siberia is current, and it’s awesome. Get in while the gettin’s good.