Tuesday 30 May 2017

Review: Luxury Stranger – 'Darkness Falls Upon The Light'

'Darkness Falls Upon The Light'

Luxury Stranger are one of those bands that are always a delight to listen to or catch live. They're one of the few bands that keep the original indie and post-punk spirit of the 1980s alive, devoid of pretence and posturing they ooze an authenticity that is sadly lacking from a lot of bands that aspire to the same ideals. The band's third full-length studio outing, 'Darkness Falls Upon The Light' is a vindication of a decade's worth of artistic integrity, channelling the melancholic vibe of indie acts such as Echo And The Bunnymen, Jesus And Mary Chain, and The Chameleons with the contemporary appeal of bands like Interpol without resorting to imitation.

Songs such as 'Another Intoxicated Release', 'Wash', 'A Triumph Of The Heart', 'When the Lady Takes The Blame', 'Side Of The Road', and 'Diver' are prime examples of the songwriting prowess of Simon York. The hypnotic rhythms, jangling melodic guitars and perhaps some of his best vocal performances to date come together to create a euphoric, tender and at times sinister energies that intertwine throughout the track list. But it is the piano led title track that provides the album with its coup de grace mixing a slow Mike Garson style melody, York's deep vocal performance, and Bowie-esque saxophone embellishment at the end.

Production-wise this is about as close to perfect as the band have sounded so far. Each instrument carries significant presence in the mix while York's vocals coral them into order. The atmosphere ranges between airy and near-claustrophobic as and when the music calls for it. And the whole album flows just like a classic album should.

'Darkness Falls Upon The Light' is an incredibly strong showing from the band. It ticks all the boxes for what a classic indie album should be. If it were released 20 years ago, who knows. But in 2017 it is an absolute gem that proves that if you dig below the so-called indie mainstream, you will find the really rewarding albums.  

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