Australian musicians LIGHT – aka Luke de Zilva – and Henry Lloyd Wilson first crossed paths in 2012 and connected through a common love of the raw brutality of 1980s British post-punk. Bonding over their appreciation for the likes of Felt and The Chameleons, LIGHT and HLW fell naturally into sharing musical experiences.
The freshly released LIGHT / Henry Lloyd Wilson split album is a debut release for both of them and comes as a double sided cassette. With tracks from each artist occupying opposite sides of the album, one would be correct in saying that it has a definite halfway page turn. However the references are there: it’s broody and harsh, filled with the gritty sombre aesthetic of their mutual influences, which ties everything wonderfully together.
LIGHT and Henry Lloyd Wilson’s split album is a dark and unyieldingly gloomy release that is mercilessly captivating, like getting lost in a blizzard at night.
We start with the tracks from LIGHT. Opener This Is How It Feels is soft and bittersweet as deep dark vocals spell out precise and articulated catharsis. It’s a story that reels you with a captivating sway of dark, bluesy undertones – a great start.
When It Felt Like Spring comes in much a similar tone as a slow guitar ripples underneath de Zilva’s moody vocals. Distant wails and dissonance add an element of glamour which sparks up the energy just a fraction; but a fraction is all a song like this needs. It’s dark and frail and tender. And performed in the right room, I can see it shining. Serious reminders of Jeff Buckley or Rowland S. Howard here.
Your Other Man moves slowly through its anticipative instrumental opening before de Zilva’s faint but determined wail breaks through. It’s jaunty and wobbling, sliced apart with scattering percussion.
To end LIGHT’s side of the record we have Even Now. A sombre and romantic ballad to finish, its swathed in an even greater depth of anguish that its predecessors. A cinematic quality, emotive lyricism and long expansive notes turn a melancholy ode into a captivating soundtrack of sorrow.
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Onto Henry Lloyd Wilson, Impasse is definitely different to LIGHT’s raw, hard-hitting,style. The glittering opener is instantly gripping. Entirely instrumental and filled with mystery and wonder, it’s experimental to say the least, but not without intrigue.
There She Lies is filled with hums of disturbia. Haunting and billowing, there is an element of frailty to the track that is enamouring. It’s tentative and questioning, a favourite on the album.
Same Blood crawls upward on slightly more positive note. Warmer tones signal a sense of release from the spectrality of the whole release, while a shuffling murmur beneath creeps in and out, adding to the song’s complexity.
Wrapping things up with Mostly Fiction, Henry Lloyd Wilson reels in the album unhurriedly. With a deadpan, weighty darkness to it, the closer encompasses the subtle thrills which permeate his music; HLW is definitely an artist pushing boundaries, and is one of a few instrumentalists that I find myself wholly engaged by.
With a co-release there is the risk that both artists deliver contributions too disparate to deliver a cohesive record. But in this case, LIGHT and Henry Lloyd Wilson have seamlessly combined their unique styles to create something brooding and impassioned. We can’t wait to hear more of what they come out with in the future, as a collective and individually.