The album opens with 'Lightbulb Sun', the title track opening the album in a kind of dreamy way that kicks in, reminds me of Talk Talk, quite late eighties choices of sounds, and then we are turned in mood by the beautiful vocal and piano of 'How is Your Life Today?', a flight of fancy like Danny Elfman meets Damon Albarn, but dreamy, musical and wistful. Soon we're off to riffola rock territory with ' Four Chords That Made A Million'. 'Shesmovedon' opens with a space-ey groove like the 'Chilis and moves into stacked Pink Floyd vocals, always, as throughout this album, using subtlety and texture. You can't ever really know what's going to happen next…intelligent men at work! Banjo and great acoustic guitar work fades in to the best titled song on the album'Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before it is Recycled'… Fretless bass brings the song up a gear, then some beautiful harp and electric piano… such masterful instrumental textures. … dreams and more dreams…. 'The Rest Will Flow' continues in a poppy way.
A change of mood comes with some spacey bass, synth and guitar exchanges creating the tense soundscape of 'Hate Song' that goes to a big chorus and then orchestral riffing like 'Zeppelin doing 'Kashmir' or Queen doing 'Get Down Make Love', with ethereal synths and guitar floating in and out over the top.
'Where We Would Be' is a kind of Beatles-ish slow song, kind of 'Floyd style too. Lovely and again, in that wistful feel that has been a thread linking the songs on this album. I Love Fender Rhodes electric pianos!…. and lo and behold Santa brings some more delicious textures with the Floyd-ey opening of the next song 'Russia On Ice' . I think it's more the slow, textural, lots-of-space stream of consciousness approach that makes me think Pink, and the way they stack vocals on top of each other, and perhaps that Stephen Wilson is a brilliant guitar player. The track moves through its main part until a bass disturbs the still water, leading into discordant NIN style riffing and textures much more 90's Reznor than 70's Floyd…. And on we go…I love the way the song ends in church bells and spookiness! In fades the Velvet Underground meets Worst-Case-Scenario-dEUS tones of 'Feel So Low' which is tender and poignant throughout…. Like most of this album, the themes are the expressions of a broken heart and it leaves you on a sad, but enduring and beautiful note.
Sometimes dEUS, sometimes Floyd, sometimes Zeppelin, sometimes Talk Talk, this is a lovely record that you need to listen to a few times. I put it on in the background a few times, then found myself being drawn more and more in. Beauty is more than skin deep, but once I got under the skin of this record, it had surely got under my skin too…
8Chris Nettleton's Score