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Album review: A Light Within - Preface (EP)





Album review: A Light Within - Preface (EP)

 
There are millions upon millions of songs that celebrate happiness: “I’m in love!” “She said yes!” “It’s a great day to be alive!” All valid emotions to be sure, and hooray for those who get to experience life in those circumstances … but what about when the feelings you’re feeling are along the lines of “It’s cloudy outside” or “Why won’t she talk to me” or “I can’t take this anymore”? These are also valid emotions which deserve musical voice, and in their debut three-track EP Preface, A Light Within delivers on the desire to hear the darker side of the psyche being celebrated in bombastic, beautiful anguish—doing so not only with thunderous power, but with a deft touch as well.
 
The titles of the three songs are page numbers that reference the concept of the album: the writings of a man reflecting upon his life, from beginning to end.  The words, in concert with the music, reveal a life lived in doubt and anguish, as the protagonist struggles to reconcile his time on this planet before the last grain of sand falls through the hourglass.  Lyrics such as “These open eyes are closing down / I’m too tired to sleep through life alone / This gallant heart is a fairy tale grown old” (“Page 32”) and “Whoever feels irrelevant has become as one with death to the living / Whoever claims innocent is blinded by a sun that can't be seen” (“Page 18”) offer a window into a soul that is indeed lurking among the shadows rather than relaxing in the warmth of the sun.  These are places where many would rather not tread, but we all find ourselves battling our own army of demons at some point in our lives (whether they originate from external sources or are self-inflicted)—and even in the more sinister realm, there is a beauty to be found that may end up saving one’s sanity if one clings to it tightly enough.  The beauty of these tracks lies in the arrangements that somehow manage to be musically uplifting and inspiring … even though the words and emotions may not be.
 
When dealing with the harder, more somber edges of post-rock, the easy path to follow is to overwhelm the listener with volume, both from an instrumental and a vocal standpoint. “We’re angry, we’re pissed, we’re going to bludgeon you over the head with our seismic swagger”. A Light Within knows well enough to rein in this urge when properly called for, but is unafraid to let the reins loose as needed. Preface shows the raw power and melodic maturity of a band that, even though it may be in its infancy, has a lot to say—and, more importantly, knows how to say it for maximum effect. 
 
Here’s to the next chapter that this preface is leading us into.
 
 
--Michael Byars
 

Michael Byars is desperately trying to reunite the legendary 70s Welsh hip-hop band Honey Black Dolphins for his next birthday party. He's also thinking about reinventing himself as a busker in England. They need to know the time and temperature over there too, right?

 

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