Reviewed by John Cheek
Modern pop can be just as superfluous as pop from any other generation, but on this, Valerie Poxleitner's fourth album, the sound is mature and realistic but also so raw and honest I at times found myself concerned for her emotional vulnerability. There are reminders of Evanescence circa "Bring Me To Life" here, but this is otherwise contemporary pop akin to Ellie Goulding and Charli XCX and as good as you're likely to hear any time soon. Electronic drums, vocoders, hand-claps, finger-clicking and old skool house-type walls of sound lead to a downtempo experience. This is not an album to dance to. The cute, sweet vocals cannot conceal the fact that someone has been ploughing the darkness of their own human experience for lyrical inspiration. "Skydiving" contrasts going into a relationship with a step of faith; "Savage", with its Kate Bush-esque vocal, uses religious language of priests and prophets to describe rejection as like taking the sun down from the sky above; "New Fears" could almost be a lyric from Jesus' point of view, rooting for us. There are three standout tracks from an otherwise remarkable album. "Morphine" opens with the following line: "I had my first good dream/Since you've been haunting me" and comes from that place of self-doubt and regret. "Almost Had Me" however warns "You were a wolf in the daylight/You almost had me." By now, the intensity is almost overwhelming. "Magnetic Field" is initially sung in the first person, talking of sacred memories and sacred melodies and how opposites attract. But who is this entity, the complete opposite of the singer and the state she's in? Is it God? Some sort of life-force? Whoever they are, they seem to personify love, acceptance, home. On a near-perfect collection, only "Moonshine", a near carbon-copy of Charli XCX's "Boom Clap", rankles. Like her emotions, Lights wears her influences on her sleeve.
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