LIPS AND LIGHT SHADE
3.5 out of 5
By Ted Rogen (NO MORE DIVISION)
I don’t think it's any secret that music can be therapeutic for both the listener and artist who is making it. For the solo act LIPS AND LIGHT SHADE his latest release SPIDERS seems to be at the very least a creative outlet for him to lament about some of his personal struggles with depression and agoraphobia.
His music could certainly be considered experimental but also harks back to a couple of post-punk bands. I was reminded of Joy Division a numbers of times while listening to these songs and thought he did occasionally sound similar to Ian Curtis.
The album starts with “SPIDERS” which is a dissonant piece that explores white noise. It serves as an intro into the album. “Howling wind’ is a little more meaty but is just as dissonant. The overall vibe is dark and quite ominous at times. The singing during the verse is monotone as it follows the same notes as the guitar. It’s not particularly catchy but I don’t think that was the intention. “A small place” is an exploration of space and unique sounds. The music along with the lyrics can give you an unnerving sense of isolation. He sings, “Am I here in my mind / Where is here / No one knows? / Something strange / Feels like Home.”
“A wide space” is atmospheric and dreamlike as waves of white noise and spoken words paint a dismal canvas. On the next song “Melting” the white noise is accompanied by a couple of bass notes. If there were a song that could be considered slightly upbeat it would be “It's not too late.” The influence from Joy Division seems obvious on this track.
He closes with an ethereal highlight that fully explores feedback and white noise. The constant stream of white noise from his guitar seems to encompass one's feelings and then has them catapulted in some kind of cathartic release. It was a great way to end the album.
SPIDERS is a niche sound that will be embraced by those who can see the beauty in the darkness. It’s not an album most will want to be pumping on a Friday night or something you should put on to psych yourself up before a job interview but it does have a time and place. At its best I think those who can empathize with these songs will also find some solace along the way.
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