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Last Leaf Down - Fake Lights (2014) - Review

Band: Last Leaf Down
Album title: Fake Lights
Release date: 14 November 2014
Label: Lifeforce Records

01. Refulgance (Intro)
02. In Dreams
03. The Thought That I Saw You
04. In These Waters
05. Inmost Life
06. Giant
07. Growing Fear
08. The Theme
09. An Endless Standoff
10. Truth Is A Liar
11. Wish To Leave
12. Born Dead
13. Fake Lights In The Sky

Do you ever let yourself fall deep into the abyss of sonic seduction so much, you get the feeling your soul has left your body and as if you are looking at the world around you from a whole different perspective? As if day and night would only take a second and seasons passed you by in a glimpse of a moment. It has to me and I have never been quite able to explain that feeling, but it was the exact weird and at the same pleasant motion I have felt when I entered into a realm  of Fake Lights. A wondrous rollercoaster ride through autumnal melancholy, wintry shades of frozen emotions, spring delightfulness and summer carelessness, expresses so many various layers of most profound feelings and illusions. But even though the atmosphere seems so thick and dense throughout each and every track, it is at the same time so felicitous and immeasurably consuming, you won't find yourself easily step off that rollercoaster. Last Leaf Down, a Swiss outfit has been on the scene for over a decade now, but it wasn't until 2007 they took a turn in their music from their doom and dark driven music and commit themselves to composing dreamy and ethereal, shoegaze melodies. The distorted guitar work, unimposing rhythm section and muffled vocals carry most of the weight in Fake Lights, but various influences of gothic rock,  atmospheric, alternative rock and even doom metal are vividly shown on more than one occasion.

It is true I have been bitching on more than one occasion how I sometimes find intro tracks to be utterly unnecessary, but with Fake Lights, I simply cannot state that, because the opening intro "Refulgance" hypnotized me in a blink of eye with its eerie and lightly distorted guitars melodies and almost unnoticeable vocals, that seem to lurk from behind and try to caress your state of mind. On the note, the following "In Dreams" could not have had a better title, being so ambiguous; there are moments that will make you feel you are being entwined by sheer darkness and bone-chilling coldness and they will sway to warmer tones, making you feel you are gently dancing on the field with blossoming flowers and the Sun is greeting you graciously. Truly an amazing and more than successful attempt to cover such a wide array of atmospheres in one song, which is also what makes Fake Lights so incredibly introspectively revelling and thought-provoking. The seemingly effortless passages between all these different colourful ambiances create a peaceful equilibrium of sonic waves and carries out the dynamics from the first second to the last. With "The Thought I Saw You", "And Endless Standoff" and "Wish To Leave", Last Leaf Down smoothly incorporated old school, 80's postpunk goes goth rock sound, which brings such a nice, nostalgic after-taste with them. The obscure and gloomy, almost frightening "Growing Fear" and the dreadful "Born Dead" are there to embrace you with the veil of shivering sombre, both evoking such a wide palette of your deepest, most wretched, dark and crestfallen emotions. "In These Waters" and "Fake Lights In The Sky" are two perfect examples of band's trademark sound and nothing less than a stupendous depiction of shoegaze's interwining, mesmerizing, seemingly never ending ambient.

2014 surely has been a year when shoegaze and related genres seemed to be flowing towards the surface again, with old cats such as Alcest surprising us again with relaxing and radiant Shelter and Philadephia based Nothing's debut bombing us with a blasting debut Guilty Of Everything. Last Leaf Down don't fall short from that, as they can easily embrace a wide portion of listeners – not only the listeners of aforementioned bands – but even Katatonia or Anathema fans, postpunk enthusiasts and those who enjoy the heavy dream-pop meets darksome psychedelic rock fusion. Another thing worth mentioning that really caught me off guard is, that Last Leaf Down don't use any keyboards and they were capable to deliver all these luscious sensations only by using the most essential of instruments: two guitars, a bass and drums. While in some songs the wild conglomerate of dense ambient might not be as evident and strong as in the others and there are some tracks that don't engulf me as much as I might want to, I am still deeply astounded how on Fake Lights minimalism has been reborn is so many different sensations and thus recommend this record to anyone, who is in search for some trippy, spellbound and transcendental tunes.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 8/10