Son Lux - Brighter Wounds Album Review

Story posted February 17, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Son Lux has a great track record when it comes to experimental creativity. At times their unique instrumental choices depict some of the most haunting and ethereal tracks in the art pop genre. With five LPs under their belt, Son Lux has had plenty of time to perfect their style. Unfortunately, some of Son Lux’s creative decisions in the past have left their projects feeling unorganized and such is the case with their sixth LP, Brighter Wounds. Son Lux’s latest effort has plenty of amazing moments throughout, but the trio has a tough time putting it all together.

Brighter Wounds has a melancholic feel throughout in part due to Rafiq Bhatia’s somber vocal delivery. The personal lyrics on almost all ten tracks of the album push the album further into this melancholic atmosphere. This atmosphere creates a heart to heart between the band and the listener, with Bhatia’s questions on life, love and others that many might lose sleep over are posted continuously throughout the album. Rather than giving answers to these questions, Son Lux seeks to understand the significance of these questions. These moments throughout the album can be hit or miss, but when it works, it makes for some of the album’s deepest moments. The rest of the tracks on Brighter Wounds sees Son Lux get personal, again with Rafiq Bhatia’s excellent and very emotional delivery.

Some of Son Lux’s best moments throughout their career have been the unique instrumentals they craft. It has been a goal for the band to become genreless, and that’s more apparent than ever on Brighter Wounds. There’s a healthy variety of slow, moody songs and brighter, more fast-paced tracks. Each piece of the instrumentation has been painstakingly mixed and mastered down to the semitone. Moments when the vocals drop away and the instrumentation takes center stage can be breathtaking. These moments range from heavy hitting strings and piano to percussion samples that range from reserved to frantic.

While Brighter Wounds has plenty of amazing instrumental moments, Son Lux’s unrelenting need to craft something unique has left their newest project feeling disjointed. The individual ideas present on this album are excellent, with plenty of variety to enjoy. The problem arises once some of these ideas are put together. Some songs can’t find a consistent instrumental footing, resulting in a few jarring tonal transitions that should have been entirely different songs. Son Lux’s creativity is present on this album, and for the most part, it works out well. However, the disjointed nature of the album from so many ideas being thrown in hurts the flow of the project as a whole.

Overall, Brighter Wounds is a great addition to Son Lux’s catalog. There are plenty of excellent moments throughout that further prove just how creative and unique Son Lux can be. However, Brighter Wounds strengths also lead to its biggest downfall. While individual parts of songs are expertly performed and mixed, the combination of these parts clashes far too frequently. But while they’re not expertly implemented, they prove the future potential Son Lux have at creating a modern classic art-pop album.

Rating: 7/10

 

Zach Hall is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.