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Neverending White Lights

Act II: the blood and the life eternal

(Maple Music; US: Available as import; UK: Available as import; Canada release date: 30 Oct 2007)

My first impression of Daniel Victor’s sophomore album as Neverending White Lights was that it was overproduced. However, Act II: the blood and the life eternal started to make sense when I read Daniel’s press release explanation. There, in talking about the album, he said, “I took direct inspiration from many lost ‘80s balladeers like George Michael and Phil Collins. There was a beauty to that era that we never got back, and I wanted to find it.” Funny, I thought Phil Collins was about as popular as ever, or at least still close enough to the global consciousness to be considered far from lost, while I don’t think anyone wants George Michael to be found, at least not in a public washroom. Regardless, Victor’s professed fondness for the synthetic orchestral, over-the-top ‘80s pop-rock aesthetic wholly endorsed by the likes of Tears For Fears gives the album a solid context.

That kind of Reagan era nostalgic fog is all over the album. It surfaces in the form of sugary keyboard strings, canned drum machine beats, and a pristinely clean guitar sound, while generally blanketing and compressing the production with a glossy sheen. As such, it’s not something I’d figure one-time Hole bassist Auf der Maur, the Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner, and Rob Dickinson would all be that interested in contributing to, though Mellodrone and Hawksley Workman make a little more sense. And yet, all those names and more lend their voices and input into Daniel’s singular vision. I guess the ‘80s really are coming back.

Now, I’ve done my fair share of ‘80s bashing in my day, as a forgotten child of the decade, but there were some redeeming aspects to it which are managing to stand up against time. You know Victor has to have some Cure and XTC, maybe even a little Human League in his collection. If you’re a fan of that kind of synthetic ethereality, with occasional urges towards dispassionate rocking out, Act II: the blood and the life eternal will also find a home in yours. It exists in a world where Kurt Cobain never bought a guitar and, thus, My Chemical Romance never happened. Enjoy.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

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