What A Concept!

You know what I like? I like concept albums. I like when an album is truly a sum of its parts, without one track outshining any other as merely a “single” that is meant to sell you on the rest. I mean, okay, there are exceptions to the rule; I’ll fully admit that I originally bought Aqua’s “Aquarium” because of “Barbie Girl” and Savage Garden’s self-titled debut for “I Want You” (after seeing them perform it during Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice Awards), but I eventually discovered that those albums were straight up bangers with every single track (to me). No, really!

Regardless, albums without a cohesive story or theme tend to be like a salad bar; you take what you want and leave the rest. Which is perfectly fine, as I really do enjoy plenty of albums like that, but to me there’s truly something to be said for an album which is an all around “experience” from beginning to end. Especially in these days of streaming music where it does seem like, for the most part, “whole” albums take a bit of a backseat to being merely a collection of random songs or just releasing singles instead. Some like croutons, some don’t, y’know? Continue reading


“The Crystal Mountain” by Nightlights

a1916052898_10Nightlights first full-length album isn’t a new concept, as creating a real soundtrack for an imaginary film has long been a thing in synthwave, yet their take on it feels like a breath of fresh air as their more upbeat sound is welcomed in a subgenre which tends to be much darker. Their music, as well as their art, work together in perfect harmony to help bring this proposed animated feature to life and overall feels like rediscovering a childhood favorite which will bring a smile to your face.

“Time Shift EP” by Nightlights

a1328061265_10Every release by Nightlights is not unlike a bag of candy-coated synthwave that you can’t help but gobble up by the handful as their music is a dreamy mixture of chill pop and retro dance. Their most recent release, the titular “Time Shift EP,” is no different in this regard as its not only an enjoyable album all on its own but like many of the albums in Nightlights’ catalog it provides itself as a welcomed palate cleanser to the sometimes harsher tones of other more heavier synthwave releases.

Nightlights: Forever EP

a3304579228_10Releasing their first EP back in February, which we reviewed, Nightlights contributes their own brand of neon-soaked goodness to the summer of synth with their follow-up EP entitled Forever. Much like their previous release, the aforementioned Shadows EP, this album is an equally infectious collection of songs that’ll get you up and moving. It all begins right out the gate with a tantalizing intro track, “In The Beginning,” which much like the wonderful cover to the album itself gives those summer sunset vibes.

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Nightlights: Shadows EP

a4058063192_10With a first track entitled “Press 1 To Start,” and the dreamy synth work involved, one cannot help but conjure up visions of an arcade machine’s attract screen beckoning you to come play. After pumping in your four pounds in tokens (or more; I always insist on more!), you realize that this is no mere game, but an experience to the senses in upbeat synths and overall poppy goodness. I dare you to listen without tapping a toe, bopping a head, or even doing a little bit of dancing! I couldn’t. Seriously. It’s that good.

The three tracks after the first, “Shadows,” “Neon Trails,” and “Shimmer” will especially get you moving. Of the three, I think that “Shimmer” would have to be my favorite, due to the heavy bass backing beat that compliments the high pitched synth work nicely like a duet. This one got me dancing for sure.

The backend of the album, with the last three songs of “Glow,” “Fade to Purple” and “GOTO 1”, brings it down a little bit with a more slow jam feel but still maintains that energy. Of those three, I’d have to say that “Glow” is my favorite, due to the way it starts with the sound of the ocean giving way to a haunting melody that is reminiscent of late night drives along the coast. It’s perfect.

Overall, this is an amazing release, with each song more positively infectious than the last. I highly recommend lending your support and dancing along!