The Light the Dead See
May 23, 2012 Web Exclusive
Over their last two albums, Rich Machin and Ian Glover of Soulsavers have created epic soundscapes of emotion, filled out by guest singers who penned lyrics and sang to Machin and Glover's compositions. For both albums, 2007's stellar It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land and 2009's equally excellent Broken, Mark Lanegan was the primary vocalist, lending his impressive pipes to songs that were full of dark mystery and deep feeling. For The Light the Dead See, Machin and Glover brought in Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan.
After a spare harmonica-led instrumental to start the album, Gahan emerges on "In the Morning," taking the vocal torch from Lanegan (listen closely for the growling cameo from Lanegan as well) in an emotional, soul-searching track with building orchestration. "Longest Day" features a big backing vocal choir on the chorus and an electric guitar solo on the bridge, to complement the gentle piano in the verse, but for the most part, The Light the Dead See maintains a steady pace throughout the album. The songs are often instrumentally spare with light female backing vocals, and Gahan's voice is front and center, left in the fore to shine. And shine it does. Everyone knows of Gahan's ability to carry a tune with feeling and a certain complicated grace. However, what it lacks, and what The Light the Dead See lacks in comparison to the past two Soulsavers albums, is the vicious gravitas that Lanegan brought to the proceedings, the feeling that you were being grabbed by the neck and dragged down into the singer's world. The horns and lush textures of "Bitterman," combined with Gahan's repetitive lyrical lines provide a nice, albeit subtle, change of pace, and the closing track, "Tonight," feels a bit more full of life.
The Light the Dead See is a good and, at times, even great album. It just ultimately fails to live up to the standard set by its predecessors. (www.facebook.com/soulsavers)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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