Bad in Love
Bad in Love is available from:
I Want You Back– 9.2/10
I’m in Love– 9.2
Heavy Heart– 9.3
Black Magic– 9.4
23rd June, 2014
℗ 2014 Lightknife
Pop, Electro.-Pop, Alternative, Trip-Hop, Trance
The Cornwall trio’s (spoonerism nomme de guerre) shows what a mixture and sense of style lingers within Bad in Love. Lightknife unveil a four-track cut to uplift the soul; get the dancefloors blazing- cause superfacient delight and mesmerisation- they are on the precipice of an exciting eve- a name you should watch closely in 2015. On the basis of the band’s current evidence, this summer-defining E.P. should be spun on every stereo.
FEW people take the trouble to open their eyes…
and take a look around them. In the age we are in, eyes are cast down (and rarely make contact). Every street you walk down; you can be guaranteed that hordes of people are texting- whilst moving- without looking up- you have to jump out of their way to avoid knocking them over. Most people’s eyes are covered by sunglasses; keen to avoid human contact, the sense of detachment and impersonality is growing- humans are turning into machines by the day. It is sorrowful when technology and Internet relations take the place of real contact and life- generations are getting sucked into machines and social media; bereft of the need to forge personal bonds. It is sad that this trend is extending into the music world: a great deal of new sounds tend to cast their gaze downwards- less personality and openness is showing itself in modern music. Whether rebelling against a sense of loneliness; a feeling of anger of resentment- too many musicians are pushing themselves away from the public. When bands and acts come along- that project cheerier and more open sounds- they should be embraced and celebrated. Sometimes upbeat and energised can equate to twee and annoying- it is a difficult balance to hit upon. I am not suggesting acts need to engulf their songs in washes of electronics, samples and vocal layers- hoping that force and relentlessness leads to pure elliptical joy- that can often come across as cloying and overly-eager. A lot of modern Pop suffers because of this; a great deal of songs are threadbare and minor- the compositions, vocals and lyrics are not strong enough to bond disparate bands of music worshipers. If you consider mainstream Pop and the examples on offer: how many artists do you relate and listen to? Personally, I find that very few- modern Pop acts- really strike a chord. There is just something missing from their artistry and attack. If you have a grand voice and sense of adventure, then you can avoid some of the Pop folly pitfalls- few current artists are capable of sticking in the consciousness. A lot of times the music they play is aimed at the young and pre-teen audience- those that do not possess a huge music knowledge; are distracted by shiny and hollow things; not mature and smart enough to embrace ‘real’ music. The genre is always going to pervade and grow- shameful as it is- because there is a market out there. It is true that this type of music pulls the listener in- and does not hide- yet the most effective form of the genre is Electro.-Pop and Alternative. These sub-genres are cultures that are breeding some of music’s most exciting and promising acts. If you hear the reception the likes of Foxes and NoNoNo- both female acts- have garnered, it is enough to make you blush. Their music- and albums- are chocked full of inspiring and summer-ready codas; insatiable and deliriously catchy songs- they contain plenty of heart and emotion. Electro.-Pop is not just synonymous with rush and movement- intelligence, depth and sensitivity bring as much to the party as emphatically-charged swagger. Before I delve into this subject in a bit more depth, let me introduce my featured act:
Lee ‘Pixie’ Matthews
“It’s ready to go and boy has it been worth the wait. Rosie Vanier’s new electro pop project Lightknife is kicking off, bringing a vocal spectrum which ranges from sugar-plum fairy to the attitude of ESG. Rosie brings an energy to the stage which is sure to get the crowd moving. Her space age synth combined with the deep rich bass lines and pounding drum beats from bassist Pixie and drummer Bubs Taylor, the trio create a buzz and an atmosphere which will hook you in an instant. New songs, a fresh energy and the release of their Debut E.P. Bad In Love, this is a band you will want to follow. Come have a dance, tell your friends and find out where they’ll be popping up next.“
London Grammar and La Roux are two of this country’s finest Pop and Electro.-Pop acts. The reason they are so lauded is because of their mixtures of emotion and fun. London Grammar’s album If You Wait showcased Hannah Reid’s amazing and distinct voice; eleven tracks that demonstrated what a force they are. Each number is packed with mesmerising electronics and samples; vivid and emotional stories; incredibly evocative swathes of light and lust- the songs perhaps have more emotion than you would expect; everything is kept compelling due to Reid’s staggering pipes. La Roux has just unveiled Trouble in Paradise– showing why the genre is such a potent and important style of music. Critics have been raving about the self-assured nature of the album; how mature and fantastic the songwriting is- elevating diary scribbling into an elegant and high art-form. The album is filled with incredible tracks; emotive singing contrasts with tight and solid electronics- there is tragedy and pain to be found, yet everything is uplifted with light and a redemptive heart. Commentators noticed how lush and full the songs are; how the singer has grown in stature and confident- her latest album is the proud voice of one of the U.K.’s most important artists. This is what music needs: acts that project outwards and bring the listener into their mind- do not look at the concrete and check their text messages. Although acts like London Grammar and La Roux provide semblances of depression and heartache, there is ample beauty and hopefulness- the abiding message is adversity over pain. Lightknife- with their delightful spoonerism of a name- are a distinct act that are following in the golden footsteps of the likes of La Roux and her contemporaries. What makes them such an arresting act, is their mix of older and new sounds. I will investigate this more later; the sensation you get from their music is of a hungry and ambitious young group- that want to entrance and compel everyone that hears their songs. Lead by Rosie Vanier, the beguiling and stunning lead has an emotive voice that adds fizz, pizzazz, beauty and captivation into the music- each number mandates you to repeat it over and over (to get the full impression). Backed by wonderfully rich and spellbound compositions, the band are sure to have a long future- they are an act that have few comparables. Plenty of young and new Electro.-Pop/Contemporary artists come off a bit short: something about their music sounds jaded and impersonal. The mixture of male and female genetics; the commingling of beautiful allure and staunch conviction makes Lightknife so strong- that diversity and range comes through in their dizzying music. I am a fan of male-lead and male-only Electro.-Pop acts, yet find more to recommend when they are female-fronted- the vocals are more impassioned and more convincing; the heartache more compelling and open. The band has been recording for a couple of years now (and have grown in stature and talent)- Bad in Love is the vivid sound of one of best up-and-coming British Electro. acts. Hailing from the climbs of Cornwall- somewhat under-subscribed and populated when it comes to new music- they are one of the south’s most promising bands. Whether it is their proximity to London- being a fair few miles away- or the freshness of their career; the three-piece are deserving of a much wider and diverse audience- I am sure it will be a matter of time before they achieve their rightful acclaim. With so many nauseated and saccharine Pop acts pulling in top dollar; almost as many Electro. acts falling by the wayside- you would do well to embrace and study an act that are so much more distinct and illustrious than anything out there.
Being that this is the band’s mist defined and fully realised work, it is hard to hark back and provide retrospective investigation. It is a brave move to release an E.P. so soon in a career: the band are a treasured commodity in Cornwall, yet have lesser relevance farther afield. Although Vanier has performed in London and made a name for herself, her new moniker is less synonymous among the cosmopolitan clans of the nation’s capital. Most bands- faced with the daunting prospect of obtaining creative avarice- would meekly present a single or cover version- try to garner some muted feedback and test the waters. I always love the braveness and boldness of the nation’s finest: those that have an innate confidence in their ideologies and intuitions. Lightknife are no cut-and-past rank-and-file band; throwing together songs with no regard for quality and appeal. The quartet of tracks on Bad in Love sounds well-rehearsed and honed: there is enough breathing room for fun; yet a professional and astute solidity defines their music. It is clear that Lightknife have a passion for music and performing: the urgency and headiness that shines in their tunes is one of their biggest marketable points. For that reason, Bad in Love is the sound of a band keen to show the world what they have- flex their smile and muscles to prove a point; show just how fervent and honed they are. The tight and unflinching energy that they pervade is equalled by few acts; their flair and passion makes all of their tracks so indelible and tantalising. Vanier’s gorgeously rich and evocative voice is a the quintessential weapon- the songs come across as deeply personal and utterly important. With an ear for style and substance (over numbers and length), the band ensure that the E.P. is controlled and disciplined- leaving the listener wanting more (after the final notes). The best way to judge the band is on their current output- rather than yearn back and see how they have risen/fallen. There is so much going on in modern music- new bands appear by the week- so it is apt to draw lines with what is being offered in 2014. Aside from Electro.-Pop forerunners like Say Lou Lou, La Roux and James Blake, the trio separate themselves from obvious comparison: their songs are distinctly their own whilst their sound incorporates darker and more primal underlings; emotive and sweet-natured profferings- insatiable and dexterous energy. There is till too much immaturity and lack of focus among new bands: songs tend to err too closely to primary school levels of literacy and intelligence- Lightknife have the ability to mix grown-up and mature themes with teenage concerns; ensure that everything sounds original and stirring- allowing no loose notes or weak lyrics to mar their potency.
Being such a new and distinct act, it is not fair to lump musicians like Lightknife in with others. For those looking for a guide or frame of reference, I could offer a few names- to give you an indication of who inspires the band; where some of their sounds originate. Two initial names I will offer is Shakespeares Sister and Goldfrapp. Scoring high on the trio’s influence-o-meter, the diverse acts are rightful legends. In so much as Vanier elicits some of Siobhan Fahey (Shakespeares Sister’s lead) and Alison Goldfrapp’s sense of quirkiness and individuality; that honesty and lack of fear- when it comes to emoting. Shakespeares Sister’s Hormonally Yours (released in 1992) sees Fahey’s deep and near-masculine vocal give life and huge conviction to her songs. Lightknife have an element of this in their music: Vanier’s voice is one that is beyond easy comparison- her unique and striking voice has character and vitality; able to define and augment everything she sings. Imbued with a sense of drama- yet no melodrama- she can marry bouncy and resilient with flawless Pop moments. Whilst the band do not turn out anything like Stay or Goodbye Cruel Word, they ensure that every song is instant and engaging- there is not a number that passes you by or does not entice. Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry is the best source of reference- when ascribing Lightknife’s current movements. That album- from Goldfrapp- moved towards a mixture of retro and modern Electro.-Pop music- the results are splendid. Vanier lets her personality shine and come through- it is one of the most impressive facets. Able to switch between cool hauter and alluring seduction, it mingles beautifully within twisted and distorted synthesisers- animatistic and primal at times. Goldfrapp take in a lot of ’80s influences like Gary Glitter: they mix bygone sounds with very modern and fresh elements. Lightknife build on this principle: drawing past masters into their palette, their aural assault is enough to impress chill-out fans and classic Electro. acolytes- just like early-career Goldfrapp did. If you are looking for something a little more contemporary, then Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue (may be pertinent starting blocks). In moments of Bad in Love, you catch glimmers of Spears’ distinctive growl and kittenish purr- Vanier is capable of whipping up such a huge amount of sexuality and womanly luster; able to switch to something more calmed and sweet when required. Spears may have left her best work behind her, but it is clear her music has had an effect on the Cornwall Siren- her voice needs no Auto-Tune or processing- that delicious and insatiable voice is all her own; the naturalness and distinction makes the music so much more convincing. Minogue is a name that sprung to mind. Embers of Light Years/Fever-era Kylie came to my ears. The shiny mix of classic disco and modern-day Electro. made songs like Spinning Around and Your Disco Needs You such stand-out cuts; gorgeous Dance music mingles with effervescence and perfectionist songwriting. There is no syrup or inconsistency; each song from Lightknife has commercial appeal and does not drop a step- it marries the youthfulness and glory of Minogue’s early days; tying it to the passion and quality of her ‘comeback years’ output. Instilled with more maturity and lyrical quality than Minogue- and her factory of contributors- I cannot help but to mention Massive Attack. Their fearless and pioneering mix of synthesiser, electronics and Trip-Hop prowess defined them as one of the most important bands of the ’90s. If you look at Mezzanine– the best album since their career-defining Blue Lines– that albums possessed fuzzy guitars; eerie atmospherics and classics destined for the clubs and beaches of the word. The band managed to fuse light and dark elements; there is distorted bass and singular intentions; memorable tunes and a seemless blend of low-tech come-down (and rampant flame-out blazers). Lightknife similarly pack a range of emotional clout into their music: the production is excellent and superb- the compositions packed with menace-cum-enlightening beauty. Blues Lines contained bold, symphonic and grand textures; songs that look at loss and disconnection- the songs inspire creative bursts; the language and vocals pour out colours; the mantra-like (and repetitive) codas motivate the mind. Whilst not up to the faultless genius of the 1991 masterpiece, Lightknife create songs that bond upbeat and moving dancefloor jams with scene-stealing vocal highlights- mixing a myriad of genres and touches into a defined and taut collection. Two contrasting names I will throw in are Kate Bush and The Kills. There is a whisper of Bush’s unique eccentricity and personality in Vanier’s vocals. She has that same girlish and child-like curiosity in her voice; able to prick the heart with her crystalline and delicate gift; summon a masculine burst of raw energy- cover such an emotional spectrum with as few notes as possible. Bush’s phrasing and delivery gave extra layers and nuance to her tracks; Vanier has her own inimitable and distinct ideal: she makes sure her words are never boring or meagre; the life and lust she gives to them makes sure they burrow into your consciousness. That ethereal and spectral beauty- Bush defined- can be found on tracks across Bad in Love. If you look at the U.S.-U.K. duo The Kills, that grit and Blues undertone can be seen in Lightknife. The Cornwall band are capable of minimalist and monochromatic sexiness and introspection: among their colourful tapestries; foot-stomp, sexy-as-f*** beats mingle with sass. The band accompany Vanier’s glitter-cum-dirty vocal allure with some springy and bomb-laden electronics and guitars. Albums like Midnight Boom contained passion and plenty of style: an album more concerned with conviction- as opposed to cool- it is the band’s most varied and wild album- with such a range of emotions and sounds, it fuses Punk, Blues and Pop into the blend. A few more names I want to mention are Moloko, Marina and the Diamonds and No Doubt. All quite unique and different, Lightknife instill an essence of each into their make-up. No Doubt’s party spirit and hell-yeah conjecture shines in Bad in Love. The energy and rush the band summoned in Rock Steady can be applied to Lightknife. No Doubt broke out of their prison: summoned a hook-laden and tight Pop record- something unique and adventurous came through. Credibly mixing Dance, New-Wave and Pop, the album is unpretentious and mainstream-ready- qualities that Lightknife project. Vanier has a semblance of Stefani’s imploring and come-to-the-party voice: less Californian and Americanized, it has a British passion that implores the listener to lose themselves in the majesty of the music. That sense of pride and fun made Marina and the Diamonds (and Moloko) such quality acts. The Family Jewels (from Marina’) saw savviness and discernible maturity coexist with considered and well-defined methodology. Like Marina and the Diamonds, Lightknife expertly update and introduce ’80s Pop and Dance; late-’90s Rock with some distinct and personal lyrics- wrapped in a bright and uplifting skin of song. Moloko’s swing and seductive sway was highlighted in I Am Not a Doctor: an entertaining and delirious collection that marries wit with emotion. Wonderfully blending musicianship quality with vocal freedom and effortless, the record was a step up for the band- it appealed to the clubbers of Ibiza in addition to the laid-back musos of London. Lightknife have a similar inter-continental strength and sense of quality: their music is fun and alive without losing the importance of maturity and restrain. Before I move on, I want to end with two particular names: Soft Cell and La Roux. Soft Cell are idols of the band. If you look at Non-Step Ecstatic Dancing: the album is packed with energy and endless movement- quite a mesmerising and appealing prospect for a young band. Soft Cell’s early work was defined by chilled and icy beats; rushing and insistent moments- bolstered by Almond’s charming and insatiable vocal. Lightknife elicit some of the band’s grandeur and potential: their latest offerings see them carve out modern-day Dance classics- minus the lasciviousness and plaintive edges. The best modern-day proponent of Electro.-Pop is La Roux. Her diary entry tracks let us into the heart and mind of a fascinating songwriter: self-assured and eminently influential, the crackling and fizz-bombing delivery sees her songs of heartache come alive and resonate; her most startling and feisty mandates lodge into your brain- the combinations and mixtures are intoxicating and wonderfully realised. Lightknife know the importance of these components and considerations: energetic and spirited vocals are nobly supported by deep, devilish and pushing compositions- making their songs as rounded and impressive as any out there. Of course, you should not compare the band (directly) with anyone else. They make music designed to be new and fresh; unexpected and vital- that is exactly what is achieved in Bad in Love.
The virginal moments of Bad in Love arrives with a dizzying and infectiously hypnotised coda of electronics. Punching a Morse Code of temerity, the burbling and firecracker embers spark the song into life- the Faraday cage on which proceedings are ensconced. I Want You Back– in no way will it put you in mind of the Jackson 5 equivalent- then evolves into a roaring and stumbling beast: a primal pounding of percussions permeates the light; bonding with the elliptical refrain, the two fuse into a symphonic- and oddly harmonious whole- mixing elements of ’90s Hip and Trip-Hop with of-the-minute Dance vibes. The electronic backing- spiralling and gleefully grinning- has the sound of a video game soundtrack: with its retro skin and helpless charm, it provides a fascinating counterpart to the rambunctious and unshakable drums- clouding the mind and unnerving the senses (with its psychotropic intent.) When our heroine does arrive in the fray, she provides some measure and calm- although her voice has an element of bold proclamation. Stating that the rules have been changed- the game has developed. She wants her man back- whatever has led to the initial sensation is not weighing on her mind- our heroine wants to invoke a romantic dispensationalism; get things back on firm ground. With a resonating tone of Britney Spears- the finest cuts from her self-titled album come to mind- the vocal is empowered and determined. Sans any form of manipulation, our heroine is not going to be messed around: whatever the tongue-wagging masses thing, it will not detract from her goals- the wisdom of crowds does not apply here. Backed by an invigorated and meteorological downpour of a back-beat, a tattooed and rebellious kick is swung in- bolstering and jostling for attention. It doesn’t matter what the people say; whether this decision is sagacious or naive- this is going to happen. Showing no signs of pusillanimity, our heroine’s voice rises in the chorus- quasi-operatic, the serene and ethereal rise is impassioned and hot-bloodied. A woman who knows what she wants, these desires are augmented and emphasised by her band mates: the primitive and smash-and-grab percussion acts like a continuous lightning storm- you imagine Vanier standing in the rain, volumizing her mandate like a bellicose slogan. There is biological division- among the listener- when presented with the sonic blends. Your heart stays with the heroine; rooting for her and following her plight. Your mind and feet are directed towards the trouncing backing- rousing your body in motion, it is an avalanching and Stone Age smash. With its soul rooted on the dancefloors of the country; the soundtrack to beach parties and late-night get-togethers; the seminal festivals and events- the song is a potent and insatiable brew that never desists. The lyrics suffer no ambiguity or lack of clarity: our heroine wants her man, as he is “everything I need“- nothing has changed in that respect. Whether she is swallowing her pride or negating the minor indiscretions of their past life, her renewed faith and lust is infectious- the vocal is a riot of licentiousness. The chorus gets you singing along in unison- its simplicity and effectiveness means it will be chanted and repeated in locations across the land. That ’90s U.S. Pop-cum-modern-day Electro. vocal is imbued with as much power and kinetic energy as you can imagine- few other vocalists are able to summon a comparable strength and directness. Repeated with intention- ensuring her man knows how meaningful she is- that chorus comes play to play- building momentum with each spin. The track may not be able to recruit those uninitiated to the genres (being represented): the sheer pace and fervency of I Want You Back will win over the most unmotivated of listener- its fresh and current sound will be snapped up by Dance aficionados. Perhaps having expended all her energy and focus on getting her message across, the final moments are a string of chorus reappraisals- the brevity and economy of language means the song is not bloated or pretentious; it is lean and sharp. Being a bigger followers of Grunge, Indie, Desert-Rock and such, if someone had described the track, I may have briddled- perhaps clicked my tongue and thrown my head back in derision. The emphatic mix of beauty, passion and raw sexuality is hard to ignore or shrug aside: by the final stages, it is amplified and mutated. The composition comes to shine- in the winter moments- offering up a ragged and rage-induced clatter of notes and beats- representing the inner burning and sense of longing. Having been intoxicated by the insane catchiness of the chorus, your mind is diverted- not for too long- to the urgency and motoring swagger of the outro.- something that dies down to a splutter in the last seconds. I’m in Love begins its course with a similar projection to its predecessor: up-swinging electronics are designed to evoke movement and energy right from the off- embodying unrepentant joy and positivity, it is a whirlpool of multifarious lights and sights (something that does not starkly uncouple itself from I Want You Back). Perhaps the logical next chapter, the song sees the relationship solidified and consecrated- our heroine’s mind is more rested and satisfied. Vanier is walking around in a daze; her feet not touching the ground, there is a definite feeling of spiritual levitation. Perhaps having struggled to find a suitable paramour, the relief and cool-edged vocal has a measure of caution- perhaps something deeper has not completely quelled doubts. Our heroine is “so amazed that I’m understood“; whomever her man is, he has acted as a redemptive and medicinal force- balming wounds and easing heartache. Paying tribute to her boy- pushing any hesitations to the back- the vocal expands and opens up: breezier and more jubilant than before, the delighted and upbeat voice puts me in mind of acts such as Kylie Minogue, Kate Bush and No Doubt. Vanier pick ‘n’ mix of breathy sensuality, girlish and sweet sigh and full-powered soulfulness gives the track a deep and layered feel- every note is natural and subjugated; she is free to move in the composition. Less foreboding and dominant than previous, it acts as a supportive hand- lifting the foreground and ensuring that trepidation does not creep into proceedings. When the chorus comes, that proud and thankful stun makes it voice heard- there is no sarcasm or ingeunine spirit; there is pure satisfaction at work. Maybe some of the chorus’ words get a little buried in the mix; it does not cause any devaluation at all- the pure strength of the projection wins you over. When our heroine finds herself “floating around“, you helplessly imagine a tranquil and blithe spirit: someone entranced in the grip of a romance- anyone trying to find any cracks or cynicism may go away disappointed. With that authoritative mix of early-career Minogue; dashes of classic Pop and Electro.-Pop figures, the song has a gender-blind appeal- it is aimed at a universal and ubiquitous market of fans; not just for the girls. When the delirium and enrapturement of the chorus subsides, the atmosphere does not diminish. Replacing outright energy with a more focused central vocal, our heroine calls out to the world (or perhaps her man). Asking whether she is being seen and heard- you sense it is intended for her current sweetheart. Perhaps not taken seriously in the past- leading you to believe is a continuation of the opening salvo- she is firm and authoritative. Wanting to be an equal partner (and not the object of deceit), the mood introverts and darkens slightly- seriousness and intent make sure the words are firmly understood (and hit home). The stern missive does not last too long: before you know it, the chorus swings back around- the band showcase how a strong and indelible chorus can elevate a song to giddy heights. Genetically infusing smokes of legendary Pop and Electro. acts- into a very fresh and modern body- you get a track that has a definite mobility. Able to succeed on the dance-floors and clubs; capable of seducing sweaty stereos driving down sun-drenched highways, it sunny disposition means its appeal and charm do not tire- I can imagine the song is (or soon will be) a live favourite. After the jubilation and satisfaction of I’m in Love; Heavy Heart would lead you to believe that the smile may soon fade- the opening mandate certainly differs from its forefathers. The electronics and synthesised sounds are darker and more moody- throbbing and sorrowful, a grand swathe of charcoal velvet presides over events- bringing to mind the likes of Soft Cell and Massive Attack. Whereas the first two tracks got underway with an explosion of rush and intention, here there is more consideration for pace and emotion- the composition dims and quietens; it rises and comes back for more- that unnerving and unpredictable sense of drama takes your mind in all sorts of directions. With the kind of tribalistic pound- Blues Lines-era Massive Attack would snatch up- the electricity levels reach unpalpable levels. When our heroine comes into the song, her voice is more reserved and deep in thought- the E.P. starts to play out like a conceptual piece. Assumingly representing the same hero- as featured in the opening numbers- the relationship has taken a turn for the worse: walking away from a fall-out and fraught moment, it seems that cracks are starting to appear. Whether repairable or not, the heroine sounds more emotional and fragile than before- the effects and aftershocks are shaking her soul to the core. Her man said that he could live without her love; resentful that she has to “start again“, the romantic odometer has been reset- perhaps the intransigent stubbornness of events means there is no way back. It seems like her man is at fault: unwilling to fight or explain things, an ultimatum and irreversible gauntlet has been thrown down- our heroine is walking the street; her mind a maze of what-ifs and confusions. In spite of the upsetting series of events, the vocal does not allow itself to wallow in grief: displaying that legendary prowess and belt, Vanier shows just how strong and unflappable she can be- when gripped in the regal emotions of music. The composition has an interchangeable and evolving drive: when scoring fractious and mordant realms, it is appropriately petrichor and suffocating; when the chorus brings some lighter elements, the sonics energie and rejuvenate- a myriad of fizzes and rushing electronics. Our heroine builds her voice in a chorus of “oh oh oh“s- stating that (her man) knows the truth, she is at the negotiating table- trying to hash out some sort of compromise, she does not want this thing to end so soon. Despite what has come before, the heroine is alive with a brand-new heart: perhaps the blame should be put squarely on the shoulders (of her boy). The circumstances of the break-up are not explained or highlighted: needing to rest and build her life back up, the passionate energy keeps the song buoyant and gripping- Vanier showcases how much lung power she has when rising (in the chorus). Letting her distinct and unwavering vocal potency allure and overpower, the composition matches its essence and incandescence. Just as the song’s sense of restraint and balance becomes untenable, the high-aiming waterfall is drained into a calmed reservoir- the intro’s burbling electronics come back into play. It acts as a brief and sprite parable; aimed as a chance to take a deep breath- from under the harsh and deathly waters- the kaleidoscopic hornets nest (fuzzing) electronics return- with that striking and stirring chorus in tow. Explaining that it’s “always you“; you wonder whether that means (the man) puts himself first; or whether our heroine will think of no one else- you get the impression that her guy should not walk away. Perhaps there is chance for mediation and rebirth; the love seems too concrete and entrenched (to capitulate so readily). There is no such thing as ‘true love’; there is such a thing as noble and honest love- our heroine is in the fevered grip of a mass of contradictions. Having once more grabbed your attentions- with the composition, passionate vocal and honest lyrics- the E.P. begins to intrigue on two different plains. On the one hand, the songs get better and more assured; the motifs more fascinating and rounded- leaving you salivating by the swan-song. On the other hand, there is a clear and developing story-line: from the initial come-hither seduction call, it progresses to full-blown passion and delirium; transforming into something more fragmented and battling- the scars start to show, but there are still chinks of light and possibility. How your thoughts and guided depends on what the intro. to Black Magic sounds like. Giving the listener no time to evaluate, our heroine’s voice is clear and sharp: wordless rises replace sonic threads- her voice acts like an instrument that crackles and bubbles; rises and falls; putting a sense of mystery right into the track. It seems the soul will be cleansed and restored after all- this black magic is something not to be feared. In bed- with her man lying next to her- he is doing “what you do“; normally the subject of daydreams, her fantasies are being realised- it didn’t seem possible up until this point. The track has a curious and detailed mixture of sounds and (possible influences). Those essences of mid-career Britney Spears have weight in some of the vocals; the rushing and heady composition takes in the likes of Moloko and Goldfrapp- current examples The Klaxons are in there. With words that have half a mind in diary pages; half in the vitality and unrehearsed rush of the heart- the lyrics mingle simple pleas with more descriptive and evocative scenes. It is said that the lovers cast a spell (on one another): that is the real nature of black magic- something intangible but very real. The composition chugs and rifles: the electronic machine dances and stomps; twirling a whirling dervish, the conjoining of brooding undertones (with merriment highs) is endlessly fascinating- it is perhaps one of the most well-rounded compositions on the E.P. It is clear that the passion felt is very engaging and direct; in the back of her mind our heroine has some swings and lows. She tells us that “I’m up and then I’m down“- one day she feels young and inspired; the next aged and sad. Her heart is spinning around thoughts; sitting in the dark, the euphemism for love is causing contrasting and conflicting feelings- not everything is as rosy and perfect as it could be. That said, the enthusiastic and unerring delivery keeps everything elementary and upbeat- even during the most introverted moments, the power of the song does not loosen. Incapable of insouciance, our heroine knows who she wants- and exactly what she wants to achieve. Imploring her man to “lay down next to me“; the pace contracts slightly- the vocal come more into play to emphasise the meaningfulness and seductiveness of the words. Tease and succinct talent mean that verses are kept brief and to-the-point: having laid down her impressions, the chorus swirls and pours down- the sharp shower returns to take you mind into the sky. Additive and compelling, the track steals the highest honour- it is the perfect way to end the E.P. As the final moments present themselves, you speculate as to whether the relationship fully resolved itself; if complete satisfaction was obtained- maybe we will see it continued in the next release? Having encountered such a heady rush of an E.P., you are left to piece the pieces together- I hope that the heroine was happy and contended by the very end. I adore the way the songs each have their own story within them: following the plot-line from the (tentative and alluring) beginnings, we come full-circle- with her man in her arms, the relationship should work; it will require compromise and patience. Having packed so many strands, sounds, genres and themes into four songs, you find yourself amazed at how confident and ripe the band are- few other new acts are capable of producing an early work with so much conviction and professional authority.
Quite a lot to take in and reflect on- when listening to Bad in Love. From the initial notes- the first whispers of the band (and their music)- you are grabbed in and pulled asunder- your brain and body is entrapped in a delighted rictus of immobility. Such is the sheer force and perpetual motion elicited, the tracks do their bidding with expeditious accuracy. Barely wasting a word or note, the quartet of songs are dispensed with in a terrific flurry of bonhomie, passion and inner-vision longings- by the final notes of Black Magic, your mind seeks more (from Lightknife). The spellbinding effect is created due to a number of different reasons. Each of the four songs is tight and focused- they clock in at several minutes; never outstay their welcome- are imbued with such a complete and emphatic performance that (if they would longer) it would ruin their appeal. The choruses are infectious, endlessly catchy and memorable- I am still singing the chorus from I Want You Back! The songs do tend to be chorus-heavy: they are reintroduced and repeated in order to summon the greatest sonic effect- burrow few words into the brain; creating minaret scenes and distilled wonder. The transitory verses pack plenty of clout; making the brain race and imagine, the lyrics are vivid and heart-aching- at times- enthralled and delighted the next. Never succumbing to naivety or infantile offerings, it is a compelling and impressive songbook. Before I applaud the trio themselves, it is worth noting the songs- and the styles of music they fall under. Lightknife have created an E.P. which improves with each fresh number- the opening salvo is strong and instant; the songs then open up and expand; become more evocative and atmospheric as they go on. This neat trick is tantamount to a stroke of brilliance by the band: if this quality consideration had been transposed- if the tracklisting were reorganised- a disjointed and weaker collection would have been provided. Playing out like a concept/story, you follow our heroine (and her man) as they embark upon love; see it fall- before picking things up and finishing concessionary solace. If you are not a fan of insistently upbeat and energetic compositions, you may seek out something more reserved and demure- the unquenchable drive and pace may not instantly hook every listener. Bad in Love is an E.P. that will hit a certain percentage- upon the initial surveyance- reveal its beauty and full potential to others- when the disc is repeated a few more times. Proffering faultless love, impassioned and delighted happiness; jilted and anxious recrimination and discombobulated anger- the quartet of gems deserves wider regard and study. Being more inclined towards the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead, Lightknife marked a bit of a departure for me- their particular blend of Electro.-Pop and Alternative has made me rethink things (and broaden my regards). There are touches of Pop queens such as Britney Spears in certain parts: whether you are a fan or not, Rosie Vanier’s original and heart-breakingly pure voice will convert you- make you fall in love with it. It is the genre-splicing and cross-pollination that perhaps impresses most. I have mentioned some sources of influences- in an early paragraph- and each name comes to the fore (in some form). The bounding and primeval beats (and dangerous electronics) Massive Attack perfected- during their regency- lingers in (the E.P.’s tracks) to give the music a dark and edgy brood. Mixing classic ’90s Dance with modern-day Trance, the compositions see swelling and cinematic snatches infusing with symphonic and demonic beat-downs. Unconnected acts like Soft Cell and No Doubt see their essence instilled within the numbers: that hard-hitting and stirring Disco/Electro. concoction is as prevalent as good-time and upbeat party swing- the tracks are uniformly capable of getting each listener to their feet to show their appreciation of the beats. With an entrancing and multifarious voice that marries Shakespeares Sister, Kylie Minogue, La Roux and Alison Mosshart- you have a cornucopia and multi-coloured lead. The lyrics offer plenty of relatable and personable themes: most of the listener can relate to our heroine’s plight; the very real and open nature of the words mean the tracks attract your thoughts on an emotional base- the fear and dread that unfolds in some moments is truly stunning. Let me conclude (this section) by focusing on the trio themselves. Bubs Taylor and Lee ‘Pixie’ Matthews have a London Grammar-esque role- backing the female lead with some suitably stunning compositions. Unlike the in vogue trio, Lightknife’s sonic innovators have more at their disposal- a greater ear for melody, emotion and sheer wonder. London Grammar are more inward and introspective; Lightknife more overt- it may be an unfair comparison. What Matthews and Taylor do is to ensure that the central stories are transcribed with the utmost attention to detail- the amount of sound and quality they pack into each number is to be commended. Capable of mastering and owning genres- as distant as ’80s Electro., ’90s U.S.-Pop and Bristolian Trip-Hop- there is no maverick cut-and-paste infusion- every sound and layer comes from astute and hugely knowledgeable musicians. The sympatico they share; the vibrancy they throw into the boiling pot- it gives Bad in Love‘s tales of love-against-the-odds entries a feeling of grandeur and touching honesty. Most Electro.-Pop artists tend to stick with a quite rigid and formulaic set of tracks- the overall sound tends to be less adventurous and surprising as one would expect. Matthews and Taylor are going to be innovative minds to watch- how Lightknife expand and develop may rest on their shoulders. Providing the brotherly spirit- to Vanier’s heroine-elect- they are responsible for projecting the mood and sound of the song- I hope that future Lightknife releases will see their bold and instinctive approach reap rewards. Before I get to my conclusion, I cannot overlook the voice of the Cornwall trio: Rosie Vanier. Possessed of a stunning and rare beauty, her voice matches this entrancing allure and grace. She is a singer whose voice never rests or settles on a particular idea: girlish and vulnerable at some avenues, it can transmogrify into the sound of a soulful woman- that vast and impressive shift happens over the course of a few seconds. Evoking memories of vocalists (as diverse as) Kylie Minogue and Siobhan Fahey, the real headline comes when Vanier unleashes her personality- that is the most distinctive and impressive aspects of the E.P. Music that lacks a singer’s personality is a pointless excercise: those that can put as much as themselves into music are those that elicit the greatest results. Each song on Bad in Love is unflinchingly and undeniably the thoughts and sound of Rosie Vanier: her strong and passionate soul makes every note and utterance sound so urgent and direct. The lyrics and ideas put forth have an air of familiarity to them- themes of love and break-up are staples of music and have been represented comprehensively. The way to distinguish yourself (from the hordes of fellow songwriters) is to put your own stamp on these topics- provide the listener something new and personal. With few clichés or over-emotive lyrics, you feel as though you are reading the journal of our heroine: being given front row access to her innermost confessions and doubts- being offered insight into one of this country’s potential stars. How the trio combine and unite lends their songs such a weight and conviction: the performances are tight and familial; the intuition and understanding (they have for each other) solidifies and galvanises the music- there is no weak link in the chain at all. It is no shock the band are so noted- in the live arena- and capable of seducing audiences wherever they go- their bond and uniformity is what makes them names to watch incredibly closely. With 2015 looming large, critics and publications will be looking around- seeking out their ’10 Acts to Watch’ and so forth. A lot of Indie and Rock acts will make their way there; with the likes of La Roux making Electro.-Pop so utterly compelling, eyes will cast around for up-and-coming genre representatives. For anyone looking for songs that provide fun and frivolity; deep-seated anxiety and doubts; strong and redemptive cores- the young and ambitious Cornwall trio are more than up to the task.
Music is a funny and inscrutable mistress- sometimes she is hot and heavy; other days she blows cold. I shall not get into risqué and lewd avenues, but she is very much like a lover: when they are aloof and argumentative, you want to retreat and get away; when passionate and instep you want to embrace and love them. Music seems to change moods and intentions every week- sometimes you hear nothing of any note come through; others there is a myriad and tidal wave of quality. Lightknife have not been hiding in the undergrowth, but the media have been a little remiss- their name deserves to be out there in the ether for thorough investigation. Rosie Vanier is one of the most arresting and down-to-earth musicians around; her voice is that which fuses delightful and angelic sweetness; plenty of attitude and tough punch; some alluring and seductive whispers too. Belying her tender years, the songwriting is instilled with maturity and ripe creativity- her inner-most recesses and profferings are those that instantly connect with the listener. Providing colour, emotion and serious weight are her comrades Lee ‘Pixie’ Matthews and Bubs Taylor- musical brothers that are perfectly in-tune with our heroine. The three-piece have been rocking, pleasuring and hypnotising audiences around Cornwall- local audiences have been entranced and joyed to see the band in the live arena. Bad in Love is the band’s embryonic effort, and an E.P. that should give them motivation and guidance- they have the talent and ammunition to turn in an L.P. (in the future). The four tracks on Bad in Love are so tight and studied; red-hot and beautiful; cherry-red and ice-cool- colourful and emotive songs that paint a stunning portrait. The bond between the band cements their music’s reputation and excellent- you know that nothing can come between the close and tightly-knit friends. I am going to try my hardest to get other reviewers and sources talking about Lightknife- ensuring that their E.P.’s good name is spread and shared as far as possible. I have a built-in barometer- when it comes to a musician’s potential- and can forecast just how far they can get. Most acts have little potential to break through their home barriers (and progress into the mainstream). With the likes of La Roux and James Blake showing just how strong, deep and stunning Electro.-Pop can be- acts like Lightknife are deserving of fonder investigation. It is a genre which has no prejudices or rules; it embraces and welcomes all listeners- providing messages, missives and masses of fun sound. Plenty of depth and emotion resonates in its skin; that heartbreak and pride shines bright- with the days getting warmer, it is the perfect music to enjoy and spin. Before I wrap up- I’m sure there are some rolling eyes- I just want to focus on the trio themselves: the Cornwall clan are swimming and drinking in the scenic pleasures of the county- its gorgeous panoramic sights; the warm and loyal crowds; the characterful and unique streets. Unsurprisingly, they have a huge live reputation: fans across social media are paying tribute to just how tight and assured the group are. This will translate well among the crowds throughout the U.K.- Lightknife should brace themselves for a busy and itinerant future. There may be an element of circumscript regard- at the moment- yet it will be a matter of months before the band are in the midst of an explosion: when more ears become enamoured of their music, the guys will see themselves in demand. It is no faint praise to say the trio are one of the most exciting new bands I have heard in 2014- I have heard A LOT of new acts- so they should be very pleased. Few groups have such confidence in their songs; immune from criticism and speculation, they are soundtracks and mini-epic scores- to accompany your summer sojourns. Vanier has previously made splashes up in the capital- at Madame Jojo’s in Soho included- and unleashed her intoxicating breaths into the clouded smoke of London. A band will only gain a legacy and foothold if they are given appropriate support and backing- this is where you all come in. I am loathed to make big statements and bold proclamations: the group are going to be big business in the coming years. They have marshalled their talent and honed their unique and stylish sound- sure to inspire legions of new acts coming through. If you- like me- are tired of the anonymity of street pedestrians; aggrieved by their lack of eye contact; yearn for something more personal and human- music is your safest option. Take your head out of your iPhones; cast your thoughts aside (from social media) and get back to grassroots music appreciation. Cornwall has unveiled a precious and gleaming gem: their name is Lightknife and…
THEY are wucking fonderful.
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