Light Asylum // Light Asylum // May 1 // Mexican Summer
What do you think of when someone mentions the 80s? Bright neon lights? Synthesizer driven pop music? It was all there but there was something else that usually gets forgotten in the kind of discussions. 80s were the first decade that truly immersed itself in LGBT influence. From openly gay performers to cross-dressing transsexuals, 80s offered a lot to absorb and hey, some of it was really good too. Brooklyn’s Light Asylum are flirting with this on their new self titled LP but the sense of exploration and ground breaking sentiments are nowhere to be found.
Light Asylum deal with the earliest parts of the 80s. The music on here is lost somewhere between goth, pop and new romantic. Not that it has any dark brooding sensuality though. The vocals delivered by the lead singer Shannon Funchess are raw and sometimes terrifying. They take everything the have from the past and on their debut album they don’t really bring any new ideas into the mix to make the Light Asylum LP more than just a passing interest for middle aged men who are still into darkwave and latex. Light Asylum is just about the opposite of experimental. It’s spun around a single idea that was perfected three decades ago and it neither gives a new meaning to it nor do the band have the hooks to back their dark pop up.
The songwriting on here is really stale, most of the songs sound way too similar, no outstanding moments amid this mess of dark gothtronica. It’s even worse then that the best song on here by far is the closer A Certain Person, the only track that reaches the emotional heights that you would associate with such music. It just happens to be that A Certain Person was first released two years go on Light Asylum’s first EP In Tension. The rest of the album is compromised of moments like Pope Will Roll, a track that ignores just about anything else bar Funchess’ vocals that are shouted in a disturbing manner, and ICP, an awkward attempts to make queer EDM for the New York underground scene. The formers feel numb while latters lack any sort of climax that would make it into a dancefloor beast rather than filler. In many ways Light Asylum sound like a milder, more try-harder fail-harder, personality-free version of Trust.
Aesthetically Light Asylum are the winners. You really can’t imagine such music being played outside dark dungeons and back alley warehouses. Sadly my room is in neither of those. Light Asylum might be a niche record but considering the fact that they can actually write hooks, the lack of them on the self-titled debut is disappointing. Light Asylum might not be the worst thing you’re going to hear this year but it’s by far the most embarrassing piece of electronica to drop in a while. To fully enjoy this sort of music you need to be a pentagram necklace wearing transsexual gimp. But are you though?