May 03, 2012 Web Exclusive
You'll rarely come across a band that shows off its influences so readily, yet at the same time makes them so difficult to pinpoint. Does this song remind you of Pretty Hate Machine-vintage Nine Inch Nails, or Speak & Spell-era Depeche Mode? Is that a throwback to Kraftwerk you hear, or is it more in tune with a thumping Grace Jones dance mix? The answer's some combination of all of the above. Light Asylum's self-titled full-length debut boasts tracks you could easily slide into any mixtape of classic synth pop, electronic, or industrial music without seeming that far out of line.
The Brooklyn duo, comprised of singer Shannon Funchess and synth player Bruno Coviello, have topped the promise they showed on their previous EP. The chilly, coldwave blast of "Hour Fortress" opens the album with a burst of rapid, steady drum machine fire; pulsing synths give way to Funchess' rousing croon. Her vocals are the central cog in this machine throughout the record. Deep, guttural, often gruff, she's got a fierce, aggressive range that bends to fit the record's widely varying styles, whether she's taking on a seething, Trent Reznor-esque growl in "Pope Will Roll," or a far-out primal howl one track later in "IPC." Light Asylum has made a stellar debut album, but it's clear this singer's full potential hasn't yet been tapped. (www.lightasylum.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10