Lights and Motion - Save Your Heart
Record Label: Deep Elm Records
Release Date: November 12, 2013
After the stunningly transformational debut of Lights and Moton, Reanimation, since the beginning of the year I wondered where Christoffer Franzen would take the project. Now, amazingly, after just several months later and within the same year, we have found out. It's very rare that an artist can release two albums within the same calendar year, and because it was done so quickly I believe it deserves greater critical attention, both to make sure it lives up to the name of it's artist's reputation, and to ensure that it passes new bounds of creativity. Save Your Heart stacks itself up pretty well on the shoulders of its predecessor.
At first glance, one might think that nothing has changed at all. Practically all of the instrumental utility has remained the same between the two albums. However, by no means is this a reason to make the grave mistake of writing Save Your Heart off. The core difference is in the songwriting and song structure, which has a few essential similarities to keep the album within the same genre but at the same time produces a fundamentally different sound and emotional consequence. I like to think of Reanimation and Save Your Heart as being two halves of a set, and the way they interact with each other on back to back playthroughs is a phenomenal addition to both albums.
As previously stated, each instrument on the album carries over from the previous one, but some explanation is needed as to how the songwriting differs. I think the biggest difference that is present is the slower overall tempo of the album. While Reanimation was energetic and empowering, Save Your Heart is very soothing and gentle. These differences can be found in several instruments across the third and fourth tracks, "Sparks" and "Shimmer". In the former, the percussion takes a more rhythmic and less driving approach, and in the latter, both the tones and the strings accomplish a lullaby-like effect, which interestingly becomes more and more loud and pronounced by approaching the crescendo with a gentle, mellowed build.
"Snow", as well as later tracks, makes itself unique for completely different reasons: melody, rhythm, and harmony. It hearkens back to Reanimation with the iconic use of the xylophone, but is instead accompanied by a catchy, rapid drum pattern, ultimately leading into a unique crescendo that is created entirely by tones and without much assistance from the guitar. "Bright Eyes" follows in suit with every aspect mentioned in the previous track being present, but with the addition of the piano doing a harmonious tango with the xylophone, and the use of the guitar to pump up the crescendo at the end of the track. These tracks have a much more mellow overall feel, as opposed to the dramatic presentation in Reanimation. Soon after, Franzen explores the power behind somberness, with "Crystalline", the aftermath of which bleeds over into "Orbit" and "We Are Ghosts", the latter of which is where noise techniques begin to be experimented with, creating a haze that is present for the entire track. "Save Your Heart" ends off the record with a beautiful creation, drifting along the celestial heights that the rest of the album produced.
To evaluate the album overall, I believe this is a rare case where neither Reanimation nor Save Your Heart are best evaluated as separate entities. They work too well together to not be paired, and I believe that the relatively close release dates reflect the expected similarity between the two albums. While they may clearly borrow from each other, they compliment each other in a way that is tremendous, whether it was intended by Franzen or not. More than likely, I think that Franzen took this opportunity to expand what was already working for him in new and interesting ways, while staying relatively safe artistically. Hopefully he will be just as successful when he creates something completely different.
Interesting... I thought this album was one of the worst things I've listened to in 2013. Maybe I'm jaded but this overly inspirational music with one crecendo after another just comes off as fake. To each their own.
I enjoy this; it's pretty pleasant. I really like putting on stuff like this in the background when I'm trying to concentrate on something else as most anything with vocals distract me. Can I also recommend "Helios"; more subtle than what you mentioned but also quite good.