Single Review: Alpines – Lights
This is the fifth time I’ve written about Alpines. By now, you should have some clue that I am head over heels in love with this duo. Their EP ‘Early Hours’ took them in a slightly less left-field direction than their earlier electro-atmospheric pop – expertly conducted on the massive ‘Drive’ and ‘Cocoon’. This, their next single ‘Lights’, flits between the two nicely. Compared to their other singles, it’s more of a grower, despite being fantastic on first listen and has a real charm in the way it sounds distinctly Alpines but nothing like their previous singles.
It’s a ballad, as far as tempo goes, but it isn’t relying on simplicity as much as ‘Chances’ did. It builds up into a massive crash of the final chorus which works magnificently – Alpines are easily the monarchs of drama ‘n’ drums and they provide it so effortlessly that it’s a delight to listen to, instead of being overpowering. Catherine just gets better and better vocally – ‘Lights’ sees her digging into the emotional depths alike previous single ‘Chances’. Expertly allowing her emotion to overtake her delivery whilst still maintaining absolute control is a pretty enviable gift that she utilises with such ease.
Bob Matthews’ instrumentation is one of the core elements to the beauty of ‘Lights’ – it never tries to outshine Catherine, even when it’s at it’s most bombastic. As it flutters away softly in the verses, the sweeping piano passages are proof of how the music never fails with this duo – you can count on Alpines to create something new and unique without taking things so abstract and experimental that it becomes inaccessible. I have a firm belief, as I’ve stated before, that even though the music isn’t commercially driven, it still retains the ability to bring something new into the charts and the consciousness of the mass consumers (as proven by their recent hit ‘Tidal Wave’ alongside Sub Focus). It has the power to achieve huge success without ever justifying their craft.
It’s not often I write about a video as a ‘part’ of a song, but ‘Lights’ comes with one of the most gorgeous and emotive videos I’ve ever seen – it matches the song so perfectly that the two may be rendered inseparable on future plays. Alpines are a very modern act and ‘Lights’ more than ever sees them joining the visual and audio into a blissful union. I’ve come to expect nothing but the best from Alpines and as they deliver once again, it’s an honour to be listening to what I believe is some of the best music our country has ever produced.
Words: Simon McMurdo