Iíve been putting off my review of the new Lydia album, Paint It Gold. Then a few nights ago, I went down to Minneapolis to watch Lydia play at the 7th Street Entry. Now that I have even more material and finally have some time, I will condense my review of the show and the new record together.
Iíll begin by sharing my thoughts on the new album. Paint It Gold was released on October 4thof 2011. I wanted to give the album a handful of spins before I wrote a review for it. When I felt I was ready to give the record an honest review, I was hit with a storm of busy. I mentioned in previous posts that I dislike when fans harp that bands need to not evolve and keep one sound throughout their entire career. Iím not one of those fans, but I will admit when I think a particular album off a discography stands out as the masterpiece. For instance, when I discuss Underoath with people, I have no doubt that Define The Great Line is the album that defines Underoath at their peak. Another example is Senses Failsí Still Searching. When it comes to Lydiaís discography, I think many would argue that Illuninate is that album. Does Paint It Goldlive up to Illumanite? Although I wish I could report that it is just as good, I would be lying if I did. This is their first album since the hiatus, and they could be shaking off the rust. Although I donít see that as a valid excuse since Lydia front man, Leighton Antelman, seemed to have kept busy during the hiatus. Antelman has been the primary song writer for most of Lydiaís history. Itís hard to compare how much influence Antelman had on how the songs shaped.Illuminate had a much different lineup from Paint It Gold and Assailants which is the album between Illuminate and Paint It Gold and before their hiatus. One has to ask if Mindy White really did have that big of an influence on how the songs sound. Mindy White is a fan favorite and a former member of Lydia. She was only with Lydia during Illuminate before she left the band to go on to form States. Was it Mindy that gave Illuminate its polish and will we ever hear anything as good as Illuminate without her? Or, could it be that the other members that quit after Illuminate also played a large role? Mindy seems to be at the forefront of this question since she was the fan favorite.
Now I donít want my comparison of the two albums to make it sound like Paint It Gold is a poor album. Itís still a good album and it still very much feels like Lydia. Iíve been a fan of music and a fan of the scene for a very long time, but Iíve never really been a big lyrics guy. Iíve never looked too deeply into the lyrics because I think itís near impossible to know what the writer is trying to get across without knowing them personally. I usually take the lyrics for what they are and try to personalize it. I think what made me a fan of Lydia is that the band forced me to listen to the lyrics a bit more. I say ďthe band,Ē and not just the writer of the lyrics because Lydia is excellent at writing lyrics against the context of their instrumentals to help create an image. When I listen to Lydia, I feel like I donít have to interpret or personalize the lyrics. The lyrics and instrumentals, in a perfect marriage, are painted on a screen for me to understand. Quite often when I listen to Lydia I just close my eyes and just let the song sink in. Antelmanís unique voice with his lyrics and the perfectly complementing instrumentals is a force to give you chills every time you listen to Lydia.
Now because I donít look too deeply into the band and the lyrics, I have a question for fans that might look into the personal lives of the band with more depth. Who is Hailey? Antelman seems to continuously refer to Hailey. And I have to admit, the songs he refers to Hailey are some of my favorite.
The Lydia concert was my second time seeing Lydia live. I never got the chance to see Lydia with their complete Illuminate group which is a shame. However, Lydia was typical Lydia keeping it low key as exemplified by Antelman and other members coming out without any shoes and socks. There wasnít much special production, a customized backdrop, or special entrance. After sound check was completed, they simply walked out onto the tiny stage and begin to play their catalogue of atmospheric tunes. Antelman wasnít pitch perfect, but he can get away with it since he isnít known to be a strong vocalist. His unique voice and song writing skills are what people admire. I didnít mention Lydiaís first album This December; It's One More And I'm Free. I must admit Iím really not a fan of that album. That is the first album of Lydiaís discography I listened to and I thought I would never listen to Lydia again. Luckily, some of my friends learned about Lydia when Illuminate came out and multiple occasions suggested I listen to Illuminate. After delaying listening to Illuminate for quite some time, I finally caved and gave it a chance and the rest is history. After I became a full time Lydia fan, I went back and tried to give This December; It's One More And I'm Free a second chance. Thinking maybe I had missed something the first time I listened to it. Even after giving the record a second chance, I have to say that I cannot get into it. If my memory serves me right, I read Antelman concede that This December; It's One More And I'm Free is not something he is very proud of. And so although the concert overall was good, Lydia really lost me towards the end when they started playing more songs off of This December; It's One More And I'm Free. The song they played for the encore even came off that record, which was disappointing to me. Again, the concert overall was good, very calm and just about the music, but I donít see myself going to another Lydia show for a while. Iíve seen Lydia twice now, and Iíve seen what I have to see and heard what I wanted to hear, but there isnít really much there pulling me back. I could potentially see them in two album cycles or if they make something that matches Illuminate.
Someone should count how many times I said Illuminate.