Future Eaters by The Pale LightRelease date: March 28, 2017
The Pale Light is an indie synth rock band from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The band started out as a solo endeavor by Robb Barnes (For the Mathematics, Higher Rights). He wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the debut album, Future Eaters, single handed. Since the album release however, The Pale Light has gone from one to a band of five and have been playing shows since.
When I first listened to the album I immediately thought of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails (NIN). Barnes’ vocals reminded me very much of Reznor’s voice, pretty much from the first track, ‘Artificial Worlds’. Fluctuating between baritone low and low end of the falsetto range. The synth used in the album also reminded me of NIN and 80s bands like Depeche Mode. The more I listened to the album, the more I remarked how incredible a feat it was for Barnes to record all thirteen tracks on his own. That alone made me appreciate the music even more. For me, the stars of the album are the synth and bass arrangements. They really shine brightly on this album. The bass was gritty and the synth made each track come alive with it’s new wave influences.
The theme of the album is a bit somber. As the band’s Bandcamp page states, “This is an album about creeping fascism and the end of the world. Enjoy!”. However, I found the juxtaposition between the somber theme of the album and the animated sound of the album to be pretty smart. Kind of like Neil Young’s, ‘Rockin’ In the Free World’, where the lyrics talk about political and social issues but the musical arrangement is upbeat and rockin’. Fooling a world leader into using it during his election campaign. Same can be said for Bruce Springsteen’s, ‘Born in the USA’.
The tracks that stood out for me on this album were ‘Artificial Worlds’, ‘Droge’, ‘A Spell for Revolution and ‘Night of a Thousand Suns’. Again, the synth in each of these tracks was stellar, ranging from quick release to melodic waves. The guitar solo in ‘Droge’ was great and I loved how the track, ‘A Spell for Revolution’, kicked in just after a minute and a half. The delay effect in ‘Night of a Thousand Suns’ was also great.
The genre of music The Pale Light offers its listeners is not something I usually listen to. However, I’m glad that this album came my way.