Lights and Motion - Reanimation
Record Label: Deep Elm Records
Release Date: January 16, 2013
How was your Christmas? Mine was great, although I didn't expect it to be. Unlike most of my fellow college students, I was stuck on campus for the entirety of my break. I had expected to keel over dead from a lack of social interaction, but gladly that didn't happen, thanks in part to this beautiful record. Deep Elm will always be a record label that I trust, because they just simply know where to find all the best talent. Time and time again Deep Elm releases great albums, but this one I believe is special in its own way, and has received a unique level of attention since it was released.
I believe the emotional appeal of this record is pretty obvious. Reanimation has a wistful serenity to it that simply can't be reproduced, and I have yet to encounter another post-rock record that creates this same type of emotion. There are a few specific areas in which Lights and Motion excels at meeting this end, while some of the other aspects, while just as appreciable, become less of a focus. We'll get to those later. "Requiem" is a strong example of this first emotional half of the album, with gentle, warm tones, accented by dramatic strings and cheerfully light xylophones chiming. These aspects carry over into "Home", and are ever-present throughout the album, evoking at least for me, the emotions of hope and optimism. Other examples of these traits exist throughout the record, and are what set it apart from its contemporaries who have more or less doubled down on their songwriting models.
The builds rise and rise as the record continues, morphing into pretty well-defined post-rock fare. It's almost as if the entire first half of the album is one giant crescendo, and while I can't complain too much about it, I would have preferred that the album relied more on its lighter side. Things shift even further into the more dramatic stage with "Drift", with powerful crescendos, a gorgeous piano melody, and pounding riffs that one would expect from an atmospheric rock band to close. The percussion, as can be expected by this point in the album, is mostly used as an introduction to the crescendos.
At this point, it's quite easy to get an appreciation for everything the record has to offer. There aren't any more surprises. The beauty of this album isn't in how unique each song is compared to the others, but in the overall context and message the album presents. Lights and Motion took the usual post-rock model, ran with it, and added some darn good magic. It combines the epic and powerful, dramatic and theatrical, and peaceful serenity that can be found in several different strains of the genre into one magnificent piece. To cement the journey, we end off the record with the atypical "Dream Away", featuring lyrical themes that interestingly parallel the ideas I experienced in the record. If you need your spirits lifted on a cold winter day, pop in this record, relax, and enjoy the splendor around you.