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Fourteen Twentysix - Lighttown Closure CD (album) cover

LIGHTTOWN CLOSURE

Fourteen Twentysix

 

Crossover Prog

3.47 | 12 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Compelling dark atmospheres wrapped around intense reflective lyrics

"Lighttown Closure" is the latest project from one man multi instrumentalist Chris van der Linden. He is joined by Jelle Goosens on guitar and electronics, along with Tom van Nuenen on vocals and guitar. The studio work is augmented by live drums pounded in an old shed in the countryside during the winter, often rain barrels are utilised, which really adds to the extreme cold stark feeling. The album focuses on intense dark atmospheres that are never overbearing but exude a penetrating chill across the soundscapes. It is not an uplifting album and seems designed to speak to those who experience cavernous distress and sorrow.

The minimalist acoustic sweeps on 'AM' kick things off and soon are joined by stirring synthesizers and Chris's vocals that are restrained and emotional. His tone is very listenable and resonate with the cold beauty of the musicianship. 'After The Storm' continues to build like a foreboding outbreak of dark clouds closing in and there is a definite atmosphere of morose and gloom. It is not as depressing as some music I have heard but this is certainly a sound that is bleak at times, but the melancholy atmosphere is generated by luscious electronic keys and symphonic synths.

'Closing Hours' has an evocative ether of synths and bleak vocals; "Stranded in here with no one around, we all try to find our ways and with fire in our heart." The booming drums are prominent and permeate the sound. This is perhaps the best track on the album with heavier textures and some of Chris's most emotional vocal work; "So many years have passed I have changed so much but I am still right here, and seasons of change the colours have faded, a long time ago."

'Gone Today' is a very sad paean to a lost loved one, which is a young teenage girl who never came home, due to a car accident. The sadness is wrapped in desolate lyrics; "Schools out early, there's no one coming home, forgot to say it's alright, life's not forever you know". The protagonist is attempting to come to terms with the awful agony of the loss; "life looked so promising you know, you never came home in the evening, the traffic light" makes it clear that it was a sudden bereavement without purpose, and the love that was felt is replaced by regrets, bitterness and confusion. Some of the lyrics would really speak to those who experienced this type of loss; "Timeless you are in our hearts you will always be there, your voice coming from the hallway but no one's there." A downright chilling deathly atmosphere enhances this haunting track, one of the best on the album.

'Tonight I' is another slow moving song about the wretched state of losing the love of a companion; "tonight I try to escape the dark but it keeps coming back to me, turning dreams into ghosts, tonight I fell into your arms again, there's no light in your eyes, how can love turn to hate, I was caught in a fire that burned." The strong themes of regret and loss are embedded into the music with sustained synth pads and disturbing melodies that are always mournful. The vocals tend to cry from the soul with a very heartfelt style, that reminds me of Porcupine Tree, Radiohead or Sigur Ros. The guitar riffs are simplistic but effective but the layered keyboards are a real drawcard, and the song seems to draw you into the darkness of its heart.

'Signals In The Sky' has a prominent soundscape of electronica and driving guitars. The lyrics really touched my emotions; "All these years I've tried to build a home, I turn to look at the lines in the sand, they're all leading back to me, as far as my eyes can see, I have come a long way on these lowly feet, I keep carrying." The music builds almost to an uplifiting resonance before the next injection of reflective lyrics. The vocals are higher falsetto and emit sadness of loss with some rays of hope in the lyrics; "there is hope to be found, and I turn my face to the wind". The reflective lyrics are a key feature that explain the album, that is dedicated to a loved one incidentally. The album focuses on the sad feelings we feel in life when tragedy occurs but it is never over bearing and over dramatic trying to ring every suicidal depressive feeling we may feel at one time or another, unlike Kayo Dot's "Coyote". We are allowed to feel down at times and music can wring these emotions from us in a healthy way without making us feel worse than when we started the album. I believe this music is going to speak to many hearts who are going through the trauma of life that rocks our world; "all the broken pieces at my feet, I need to put them back together."

'Descending' is a doomy minimalist electronic saturated track with vocals that are desperate and reflective sung from the core of the soul; "I feel so small in this world, I don't want to leave you all behind, but time won't stop and wait for me, love you promised me we would see, each other again some other time maybe, what happened to the years, sometimes I'm so mad at this world, Iife moves by in a haze of slow motion echoing words, all the things you said speak much louder now and everyday makes sense in the end." Once again the protagonist is reasoning whether life can go on and comes to the conclusion that although things are bad at the present they will get better. It is never handled in a pretentious manner, rather the tracks are sincerely attempting to convey broken lives, trauma and how to come through when the clouds roll across our conscious thoughts. The shadows come over us in times of distress but we are able to move on once the depression has lifted. The protagonist agonises about how much he has taken for granted and it makes sense now but is too late; the exact feelings one experiences when a relationship is broken irreparably.

'White Paint' is very sombre with a soft vocal delivery with real emotion and raw reflections that are haunting and ethereal; "I could never quite find the words, a heart can tell it's all been torn apart, white paint couldn't cover up these scars, white paint couldn't cover up the darkness of our hearts." I like the original thoughts expressed here and the cold starkness of the music echoes the sentiments of grief and isolation. The music is desolate scenery for the sadness of loss; "And all these years that have passed nothing is changed, with the look in your eyes." The protagonist pleads for his lover to return to him but it is hopeless; "You don't want to go, don't go".

'Lashes' begins with electronic synth and a downbeat bassline, with steady brooding percussion. There is more anger in the emotions now as the protagonist struggles to come to terms with the suffering. The lyrics express that the protagonist is despondent; "close your eyes, and don't look back, I see your tears, but don't look down on me, there is nothing here." The pain lasts even after the last song, "love doesn't always lead to the right places, and your eyes tell me it's all over now", this reminds me of Peter Hammill's style especially his solo "Over". The finale is an effects laden hellish suite of dark tones and a chilling wall of sound. Has the protagonist descended into deep depression never to return? It is up to the listener to ascertain his fate but I tend to think from the lyrics that he is on his way out of the tunnel.

At the end of the album each time I play it I feel I have listened like a counsellor to one man's bleak journey where the scars of loss and rejection have damaged his persona. The man is feeling at the bottom of the abyss but he is still ready to move on once the depression has lifted but he needs closure. I didn't feel he was crawling inexorably towards suicide but was coming to terms with where his dark experiences have driven him, but I may be playing the optimist here in a pessimist's world. The frame of mind of the main player, perhaps the artist himself, is certainly fired with rejection that has seared his consciousness indelibly. The demons of his trauma have been taunting every fibre of his being but it is not going to last. He says "I feel a change, show me the way" suggesting he wants to escape and indeed will as closure settles in. I felt that each track blends together almost like one song and perhaps this is something that mars the album as it would have been nice to hear some diversity as the album tends to wash over the listener. It is not a pleasant journey, every track is downbeat and depressive in extreme melancholy, and not full of the emotions I personally tend to focus on these days, but I could still enjoy this album from a distance due to the intensity and definitive darkwave atmospheres.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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