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Lighter Subjects

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Album Review

On its initial blush, Joseph Costa's solo debut away from L'Altra, a project unsurprisingly named after himself, is a mélange of a variety of recent strands in everything from singer/songwriter approaches to numerous electronic routes. The gift Costa and his collaborators have is hot-wiring all this into something just familiar enough, but still only a product of this decade first and foremost — in its use of rhythms as well as following the paths of earlier perfecters of sonic approaches. A song like the opening "As I Go Beneath" seems to skip almost randomly from Portishead to the Tindersticks, from turn of the millennium Timbaland to Beck at his least guitar-focused, and then back again, a dark swirl of a song that's simultaneously a moody nightclub number and a frenetic crush of beats. It serves as a striking start, though the slight downside is that a good chunk of Lighter Subjects then steers within this combination as established, a series of intriguing and intricate performances each individually compelling but all tending to blend into a whole (or, on songs like "Snows," creating a calmer though somewhat less exciting fusion). Where there's a variant on this, whether in terms of pace or difference in arrangement, the rewards are even greater — for instance, the almost toy-box melody of "Canary Landscape" turns into a suddenly epic turn in Mogwai-meets-Coldplay lighters-in-arena style, but never letting that gentle sweetness step back from the front of the mix. Perhaps the highest praise is how well this album, on songs like "Lack of Lights" in particular, turns what's been a strong artistic endpoint for many — late Talk Talk, Hex-era Bark Psychosis — into a quaking, nervous collage of beats, almost as if the latter band's Graham Sutton had recorded Hex and the Boymerang project simultaneously.

Customer Reviews

I feel in love with music...again.

This is sooooooo good. It's another instance of refreshing music. Talent like this does not come around often... music like this makes searching for the good stuff worth it. It's incredibly inspired.

Customer Ratings

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