Album Review: LIGHTS – ‘Midnight Machines’

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I honestly cannot think of another artist who takes the time to craft special acoustic companion albums for each of their releases. LIGHTS has been on the acoustic bandwagon since 2010 after releasing an acoustic EP for her debut record, The Listening, then again in 2013 for her sophomore effort, Siberia. Now, as 2014’s Little Machines has spread its wings, it is now time for a new chapter in the form of Midnight Machines.

Proving to be the Canadian electro-pop queen’s best acoustic effort yet, the singer effortlessly blends her greatest assets with music’s simplicity, making Midnight Machines timeless and perfect for a rainy day in.

We are met with opener, “Up We Go” – an anthem for the weary and determined, now a more-reflective ode to hard work and believing there are better things ahead than any we leave behind. “Same Sea” carries on its initial urgency but with a sweeter, undeniable Bon Iver-ish softness that will be hard to shake, even as previously-unreleased tracks, “Follow You Down” and “Head Cold” invade your heart and send you straight for the tissue box.

Album buzz track, “Meteorites,” is a lot to take in as the singer creates an entirely new dimension for the track, giving it a wistful, folky vibe that’s equally craved as it is highly-valued. “Greater heights,” indeed.

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I imagine “Don’t Go Home Without Me” is the original version she showed to husband, Beau Bokan during the recording of Little Machines, as it’s every bit romantic as it is witty – now remaining a sort of secret fans have been invited to witness in its true glory. “Running With The Boys” maintains its innocence as visions of childhood remind us of who we once were along with the notion of who we might have been. Keep this one handy for a campfire singalong.

Perhaps the biggest surprise would have to be closing track, “Muscle Memory,” as we’re seduced with the singer’s longing and a sinking feeling that maybe some things really are too good to be true – certainly not the case for LIGHTS as this extended release only proves that there’s really nothing she cannot do.

Midnight Machines is available now here.