The Amber Light

Jane Weaver

Bird Records, 2015

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka


Perhaps Jane Weaver knew she was on to something with last year’s album, The Silver Globe. Perhaps this led her to follow it up with another full album, The Amber Light, consisting of alternate versions of some of the songs from The Silver Globe as well as some additional new material.

Like many albums that assemble alternate takes and outtakes, these releases tend to have most of the best material at the beginning, relegating the less interesting material toward the end.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Amber Light is no exception. The good news is that the stronger material on the first half of the album is worthwhile – particularly the new songs “I Need A Connection” and “You Are Dissolved.” These two songs feature the kind of straight-ahead electronica pop that worked so well on its sister album, complete with irresistible melody lines.

The songs here extend the thematic elements of light and color from The Silver Globe, along with the mysterious globes referenced in the opening tracks of both discs. The alternate versions of “Argent” and “Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary” are still very good, but don’t really offer any improvements on the versions that appeared on The Silver Globe. As much as I enjoyed “The Electric Mountain” on that album, I found the instrumental version here to be superfluous. Without the infectious vocal melody of the original, this instrumental version fails to spark. On the other hand, the version of “Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary” leaves out the drums and piano, making it more ethereal and gauzy but still compelling.

Into the second half, some of the songs have this sparse, subdued, but haunting beauty to them, like “Cascade In The Dark” and “The Parade Of Blood Red Sorrows.” Their appeal is subtler, but they reward the listener with each repeated playing. The album closes with the excerpt “Neotantrik Globes,” bookending the two albums with a track as diaphanous as the title track opener on The Silver Globe.

While The Amber Light does have material on here that makes it worth the effort, it loses some steam after the halfway point. Perhaps it is best to keep this album paired with The Silver Globe, and to see it for what it is: an extension of the artistic vision embraced by both albums.

Rating: B-

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