Always pushing boundaries, alt-pop phenomenon Lights has never shied away from a challenge. Through her first three records, Lights built an incredibly passionate fanbase, selling out tours around the world, earning 100M in U.S. streams, 200K in U.S. album sales, and two JUNO Awards, not to mention the 2M + rabid fans who follow her every move online. Yet through this success, she felt like she had more important things to say through her music but just didn’t know how to get them out. Thus was born Skin&Earth, the Canadian singer’s fourth record and companion comic book series of the same name. As Billboard explains, “Concept albums are nothing new, but it’s the lengths to which Lights takes her fourth album Skin&Earth that sets it apart,” with Lights having written and illustrated the comic series in full herself while concurrently working on an album to tell the same story. Further critical acclaim for the project comes from Playboy, who dubs her a “Real-life musical wonder woman,” while ELLE describes Lights as “a musician, and artist, and a comic book hero,” Departures praises her as “More pop siren than indie darling,” and Forbes states Lights is “A creative, enthusiastic force.” Anthemic single “Giants” brings the immersive comic book world to life, as Lights – and her leading lady – struggle to find hope in a hopeless world. As Buzzfeed attests, “It’s time for Americans to fall in love with Lights.”
MONDAY 27 MAY
THEKLA BRISTOL The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB Doors 7:30pm Ages 14+
If you count yourself a longtime member of the devoted Cult of Lights, prepare to fully lose your mind to Little Machines. This record –a gleaming, groundbreaking, generously tuneful slab of brightly hued 21st-century techno-pop brimming with songs so immediate and timelessly pure of heart that they feel like old friends on delivery –is going to make perfect sense to you in the best way possible.If you’re new to Lights, no worries: you’ve picked a fine place to start. Little Machinesrepresents a dream union of, and wallopingly self-assured expansion upon, everything the diminutive Canadian singer, songwriter and synth enthusiast has done before. Now you can dive into the back catalogue with informed ears.That catalogue has set the creative bar pretty high, for the record. Lights’s last outing, 2011’s Siberia, was a strikingly ambitious sophomore LP that turned many a head not previously turned her way by introducing layers of synthetic dissonance and juddering dubstep bass into her signature, sweetly melodic electro-pop sound. It was a struggle to get Siberiapast the gatekeepers and out into the world, but when it did get out there –to a No. 3 debut and gold sales at home in Canada, more than 100,000 copies moved worldwide and no small amount of international critical acclaim –it put Lights in the perfect position to conquer the planet with her next album.The only trouble was the next album refused to come. Despite having Siberia’s artistic risk-taking validated by positive reviews and strong sales, Lights couldn’t come up with a note or a lyric she liked for the follow-up and descended into a bottomless pit of self-doubt. It’s astonishing to think that a musician who’s demonstrated so much flagrant promise and confidence from an early age might wind up stricken with fear that it was all over by her mid-20s, but that’s what happened: Lights was convinced she’d run out of things to say. It was a case, as she puts it, of “the worst writer’s block ever.
SATURDAY 24 JANUARY
THEKLA BRISTOL The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB Doors 7:00pm Ages 14+