Canadian synth-pop pixie unplugs, and stumbles, on wrongheaded Acoustic EP.
Coming a year after the release of her sparkling debut full-length album The Listening, Canadian synth-pop pixie Lights has yet to scale the commercial heights that she deserves, even with a Best New Artist Juno award (Canada’s Grammy) and a prominent touring gig opening for the inexplicably popular Owl City. Not helping matters one bit is this ridiculously wrongheaded stopgap EP, which reduces the high-gloss shimmer of three of the standout tracks from The Listening (“River”, “February Air”, “Saviour”) to personality-free, acoustic guitar strum-a-longs fit for an open mic night at your local coffee shop. It is enough to suggest to detractors that there is precious little going on beneath the shiny surfaces of Lights’ production-heavy compositions, although to an until-now never disappointed fan like myself what these versions really serve to prove that Lights’ songs are built with the stratosphere in mind and that aiming any lower is doing them a horrible disservice. Rounding out this five track EP are a punk-goes-acoustic-style cover of Rancid’s “Fall Back Down” and a drippy original called “Romance Is…” that sounds like something far more suited to her cloying tour mate than it is to her own considerable talents.