Lights - Siberia

A fine up-to-the minute synthpop album that benefits from interesting detours.

Label: Last Gang

Rating: 6

Without knowing much about Lights, and seeing the words ‘Lights’ and ‘Siberia’ in the title, you could be forgiven for thinking this album would be full of sparse but glittering chillwave, featuring synths that sparkle through a dense fog of reverb. You’d also be completely wrong.

‘Siberia’ is the second album from Canada’s Lights, and is actually a synthpop album with accents of dubstep and Nordic dance pop. It’s quite a good snapshot of what is currently en vogue in modern music, which in itself will make it an interesting listen for the future, to see how it holds up.

Upon first listen, ‘Siberia’ sounds like an amalgamation of Robyn’s infectious pop structures with Dragonette’s slightly harsher electronics. Throw in some of Bjork’s syncopated and explosive beats and you’ve got the basic idea. Lights herself at times also sounds like Robyn and Martina Sorbara at different points. This is both the beauty and the curse of this album; while these are all great things to sound like (the dubstep wobble of the chorus in ‘Where The Fence Is Low’ is a well-worn motif, but still so satisfying), she risks not being able to shine (no pun) by blending into what is already out there.

In fact, where Lights seems to hit her stride is when she lets loose on the electronics and goes down the rabbit-hole in the middle of her songs. ‘Everybody Breaks A Glass’ sees a detour into a drum beat breakdown, which has a dizzying momentum because it interjects so abruptly. ‘Banner’ has an exploding chorus with a wall of swirling electronics that create an appropriately invigorating but melancholic effect. ‘Heavy Rope’ is percussive number, that showcases more of Lights’ voice, and she sings very prettily. The ever-so-slight melody change in the bridge is quite arresting.

For all the criticism for not being entirely original, Lights has still created a thoroughly enjoyable album whose delights reveal themselves with time. It is only when you listen to the songs all the way through that you get to take these interesting journeys with her. This is a fine piece of synthpop that is a good addition to the collection of any fan of this genre.