Skin and Earth are a Conceptual Masterpiece
The Canadian singer songwriter Lights is back with her fourth album ‘Skin and Earth’. A concept album with a difference. The album is accompanied by a comic of the same name which is six issues long and the first three available now.
Lights isn’t the first to attempt a concept album that is accompanied by a comic series. However, Lights has taken the concept album to the next level here. This is a project hits the mark, with the music and comic that are beautifully intertwined.
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‘Skin and Earth’ opens with an ethereal ‘Intro’. 34 seconds of electronic vocals that are ethereal and trancelike before jumping onto ‘Skydiving’. A beautiful alt-pop track. Tracks 3 & 4 are a change in tempo with track 3, ‘Until The Light’ which features sparse instrumentation that blends perfectly with Light’s vocals before leading into ‘Savage’ a more up-tempo track.
After this up-beat of tempo, Lights returns to the simple instrumentation, for ‘New Fears’ and ‘Morphine’ which are a mixture of crisp, bluesy vocals with a melancholy and haunting flavour. These tracks are the perfect companion to each other.
‘We Were Here’ and ‘Kicks’ are pure up-beat pop tracks, that mark the change in the story. ‘We were Here’ is heavy on the autotuned however, it still feels like Light’s singing. ‘Kicks’ is the albums sing along track.
‘Giants’ lives up to its name with its monumental and anthemic feel. The track in a perfect combination of the track before it. The crisp, bluesy vocals, with an upbeat tempo. ‘Moonshine’ is a brilliant pop with an electronic feel. The sound is reminisced of an M83 track. There is defiantly a positive feel from here.
‘Magnetic Field’ is a beautifully haunting track.
‘Fight Club’ is the penultimate track on the album and the track with the most bounce. This track reminds us why Lights is at the top of her game, the punchy lyrics and strong vocals. The false rhymes on paper shouldn’t work but in the hands of Lights makes for a very catchy track.
The grand finale ‘Almost Had Me’ is the perfect ending to an amazing album. Anthemic and huge in sound, with pounding rhythm and soaring rhythms. Lights perfectly wraps up the story here, however with the sheer power of ‘Almost Had Me’ leaves you wanting more.
‘Skin and Earth’ the album tells the full story, which is yet to be seen in the comic. The album however, does not spoil or diminish the world Lights has created on paper. That goes for the comic, they are both telling the same story and together they enrich the concept of ‘Skin and Earth’
The comic works without the album and that goes for the album. The concept works in both media’s which is why ‘Skin and Earth’ is a perfect concept album. This album and comic feel like they have only scratched the surface of this concept.
Lights, revealed a handy chart prior to the album’s release that showed how the songs tie into the issues. Having read the first three issues, the songs have a lot more meaning and context. They spoil them in any way, instead they enrich the experience. Having listened to the album, the anticipation to see what’s in store for En in issues 4 – 6 is elevated tremendously.
‘Skin and Earth’ is a brilliant concept album that feels like the final evolution of Lights relationship with music and comics. The album is beautiful and showcases why Lights is at the top of the indie alt-pop scene. Whatever is next for Lights, you know it will be big and amazing.