Album Review: ‘Illuminate’ shows growth
As cliched as it sounds, music tends to be therapeutic for many people. There is frequently a right place and time for a certain record to come out, strike a chord and resonate with the listener. Lydia’s sophomore release, Illuminate, is unquestionably that kind of record.
"This is Twice Now," the first single, puts this album into motion, wasting no time as the band boasts carefully executed ambience and seemingly effortless male/female dual vocals. Lead vocalist Leighton Antelman, whose vocal style is a cross somewhere between Aaron Marsh of Copeland and Jesse Lacey of Brand New, harmonizes well with backup vocalist and keyboard player Mindy White, who joined the band in 2006.
Lydia has progressed from its debut album, This December; It’s One More and I’m Free. Judging from the songs on Illuminate, each member has grown into his or her instrument and completely reinvented the sounds explored on This December.
Lyrically, the band has not progressed much, but in general, they have learned to write better music.
"Fate" and "One More Day" are great examples of Lydia’s louder songs, although most of the album keeps a mellowed and subdued pace. On the final track, "Now the One You Once Loved is Leaving," keyboardist Mindy White takes over lead vocals. Although she is not the strongest female vocalist, White manages to mesh well with the band’s sound and creates an impressive conclusion to Illuminate.
After hearing its awe-inspiring debut, I knew this group had a promising future ahead. Months prior to the release of Illuminate, the band signed to Linc Star Records, a label owned by John D’Esposito, the creator of The Bamboozle Festival. The label has done a great job promoting the release of this album, while managing to keep the record’s leak under wraps.
The biggest downfall of this album will be its inaccessibility to the public. Linc Star Records has virtually no distribution, so you are unlikely to find this album at your local Best Buy. The only ways to purchase it are through their online merchandise store (www.merchnow.com) or through digital retailers such as Amazon and iTunes.
2008 should be a huge year for Lydia. The group will undoubtedly continue to gain momentum, and hopefully catch on with the general public. One can only hope that a record this remarkable finds its way into the hands of people eagerly looking for their new favorite band.
Verdict: Perfect if you’re looking for a new favorite band