EP Review: paris_monster – Lamplight

By turns reflective and hectic, speckled with digital elements but full of human fragility, Lamplight is an exploratory exultation which coruscates with groove.  

The underscore that unites the paris with the monster in the band’s name nods to the deep groove that runs directly through the album. Digital monster-riffs and uncapitalised Parisian sentiments loom and hover on either side of this promising cleft.

After the initial whirring, bleeping opening track “Deep under Darks”, that groove becomes instantly apparent; the grinding, stomping electro-Americana hybrid of “Malcolm Hart” takes flight. Above this furrow of funk the vocals dip and soar, resurfacing in various places amongst the nibbling digitalism. This all takes place as Josh Dion blasts us skyward from rural New York, on a digitally manipulated trebuchet, all tension and stability.

Lamplight is an album of distinctions, with the arpeggiated digital wobble and drum-machine crunch of “Andalusia” contrasting with Josh Dion’s echoing, yearning vocal heat-haze. The synth layers weave labyrinthine under the serenity of the vocals, upholding them, shifting and sliding like hot air on an open road. “Moles” tremors with vulnerability and builds gracefully, finally pushing through into open air which then swirls through its channels in a mesmeric bass solo.

In “Hot Canyon Air”, there is a raucousness to the bassline and a sparse hecticness to the drums through which the vocals surge. There’s the undeniable steep of the American tradition, an honorable and straight-to-the-point openness, much like the canyons of the song;  vast, expansive, tantalizingly deep. This is Lamplight at its most anthemic, fizzing through an atmosphere of its own creation. Even from way up there, the Americana is still audible through the gnarling synths.

The album dips in and out of substrata of digital crackle, to rise gloriously on location of southern Spain or New York state. It is exploratory by nature, switching from the techno-percussive interlude of “Corning, NY” to an eclectic swathe of head-nodding funk on “My Disarming”. This track sees the album weave from speckled bass pop, through Dion’s earnest vocals cries, to a surging ram-rod of grinding bass.

Amidst Lamplight’s growling instrumental depth, Dion’s vocals scintillate like wind-blown leaves on a solid, fissured percussive trunk, standing timeless yet intimate on the Eastern flanks of America. Stolid in its roots, expansive in its reach; Lamplight is a combustible synthesis of scouring riffs and yearning vocals.  

Jack Spacey-Helder

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