Believe The Hype: Light Asylum
Whenever it seems that synth-based rock music has reached its limit and finally exhausted listeners, some Korg-beating chaps come barging into my speakers screaming, “No, wait!”
While I figured Twin Shadow’s “Forget” would be the last straw, it seems that New York’s Light Asylum have something to say.
Consisting of chest-beating vocalist Shannon Funchess and keyboard master Bruno Caviello, the two deliver confident anthems over hard-hitting synth landscapes.
“In Tension,” the band’s debut EP, delivers sprawling synthetic dirges with harrowing vocal passages, most effectively on the phenomenal “Dark Allies.” The track vamps on a Sega Genesis style backing track while Funchess’ vocal takes the song to great heights.
Each line is delivered with powerful certainty, to the point where you feel almost personally threatened by the words. Stuffed with religious imagery (the video features the vocalist wearing a white shirt with a black cross on it), the song soars sky high before the keyboard lines skitter apart in its conclusion.
While “Dark Allies” is certainly the biggest highlight, the group have several tracks destined for the repeat button. “Skull Fuct” uses the marching robot beat from “Blue Monday” as its starting point, building up to a futuristic battle hymn, while “Knights and Week Ends” channels Iggy Pop and Soft Cell for an infectious noise/dance track. While the band’s sound seems mostly focused on the dark side of synth pop, there is some optimism in “End Of Days,” which is aesthetically reminiscent of Yazoo but with the refreshing warmth of Peter Gabriel on “So.”
Light Asylum are still fairly new but are already burning up the scene with their live show which sees the stage decked out in blazing neon lights. Caviello stays stationary over the keyboards, juxtaposed by Funchess, who spends her time strutting around the stage, bellowing deep lows and wailing highs. The aforementioned “Dark Allies” is featured below to give an idea of what I mean. Check out their other songs at the band’s website… and buy their EP – I did.