Essex is famous for many things. Sadly, a good portion of those things are bright orange and probably retarded. It’s good then that there are some bands can try to repair the damage done by this abject fuckwittery. Among the Essex alumni are Depeche Mode, Prodigy, – Musicscramble favourites – InMe, and sadly not for much longer, the excellent Fei Comodo. Announcing their decision to split midway through the Pledgemusic campaign funding a special edition of the album, the band are going out with a bang, releasing the album, special edition and completing the delayed tour in support of it before they close down for good.
It’s a real shame as Behind The Bright Lights is a really good album and I for one want them to continue. I’m a big fan of 2008 debut mini-album They All Have Two Faces and 2011 EP The Life They Lead so it’s refreshing that the template hasn’t really changed for the new record. The majority was recorded around 2009 and certainly reflects the sound from the mini album, yet features two tracks from the EP which don’t sound any different in style or recording. It’s firmly in the post-hardcore camp with almost schizophrenic guitar, some great chugging riffs, and a great scream/calm vocal dynamic.
There’s a lot of energy in the music that’s difficult not to find infectious and hugely enjoyable. Vocal is natively accented and ranges from piercing screams to elegant choruses. Instrumentation is heavy and fast without treading into any thrash territory. There are some cracking songs on here, in particular “The Point of No Return” (which is now my new ringtone), “A Man Left Behind”, “You Peaked At Sixteen” and the semi acoustic “On The Road”, the only slower track on the album.
I personally prefer the acoustic version of “The Air Is Cold Tonight” which is available on the single release of the track, but that aside, there’s little to nothing done wrong at all. Curiously, despite the majority of the album being recorded soon after the first release, the lyrics take on an unusually pertinent edge, almost prophetic in some cases. Take “The Point of No Return” for example. In normal situations it would likely be about trying to keep a relationship alive, yet it sounds more like trying to save the band than a partner.
“Cos I feel beaten down by this
Watching something we built for years
Working through blood and tears
Fall apart piece by piece ’til it’s gone
Don’t wanna waste my time
Is this a waste of my time?
Is this gonna fall apart?
Not like this, not now”
Spooky, eh? As a parting gift, Behind The Bright Lights is a gem. As impressive as it is, it still sounds like a young band with plenty of room to expand and improve, but sadly now cut off in its prime. It should be noted the album was released to people who pledged on it two weeks early and is released to the public on 16th July with the special edition to be released soon too. I’m really looking forward to hearing what didn’t make it as there are sure to be further treasures to be had.