Another Life

Black City Lights

Stars & Letters, 2013

http://blackcitylights.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/06/2013

Pop music shouldn’t always be uppity and goth music shouldn’t always be funereal, or so is the mantra behind the music of the Wellington, New Zealand duo Black City Lights, especially on their full length debut Another Lifemy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 . The band has a cinematic, almost epic sound, with sweeping tunes that have the melodiousness of pop music, all in the backdrop of black dress and black eyeliner wearing gloominess that at times feels quite apocalyptic. The band’s music is drowned in heavy layers of the glossiest synthesizers and is propelled by sharp beats. Singer Julia Catherine Parr’s powerhouse vocals are the best part of the duo’s music, tying everything together and giving it their signature dramatic sound.

The pop music sentiment that Black City Lights brings into their music plays a big role in cutting down on the doom and gloom and making it more accessible. This is particularly true on the first half of Another Life, which undoubtedly contains the best tracks: “Give It Up,” “Children,” “Offering,” and “Another Life.” These cuts possess the perfect balance between sentimentality and edginess, all of them making for great contenders for singles. The power and beauty of this duo really shines through in the album’s first half, showcasing their great talent for song composition.

The second half of Another Life, however, is a bit less desirable. The music gets far slower and morose, with that element of the pop allure missing from most of the songs. There is a dirge-like vibe in these cuts, which dampen the tone set by the disc’s first half. But for a band that proclaims, “We make pop music with a dark twist,” there is very little to complain about this release in general, even if one half is less poppy than the other. Afterall, Another Life is a great effort by this duo; they know how to make pop music bleak without making a morbid gloomfest out of it. And they do so with originality and great style.

Rating: B+

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