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Archive - Lights 2006

After the departure of vocalist Craig Walker, British electronic rock band Archive recruited Pollard Berrier as their new lead vocalist.

Archive's latest is quite a contrast compared to its predecessor, 2004's "Noise". 2 years have passed and somehow I think their music has altered during those years. "Noise" had its 'darkness' as a trademark, whereas "Lights" sounds far more uplifting and more coherent as an album. The name of the title kind of expresses the overall atmosphere.

"Lights" is definitely something I would qualify as genre blending. This is the point from which Archive present us their future sound: a mix of their triphop background and an upbeat rock sound, or as I tend to refer to their music myself: triprock.


The incorporation of a more straightforward rock sound might disappoint prog music listeners. Whereas Archive had their Floydian moments in the past, here they definitely do not focus on copying other bands, but instead they copy themselves. Several songs sound a lot like some of the previous output of the band, most noticeable alike the songs on their 1999 album "Take my Head".

The album's title track shows a link with the song "Again" from Archive's "You all look the same to me" album, not only by its lengthy duration, but also in composition. Though I really like Lights, I still think "Again" is a better song composition wise. It's quite a difficult task to make an 18minute suite catchy and I can only say that they did not succeed completely; it's just not as good as their previous suits. I have to admit that the circumstances while listening can influences ones enjoyment of the song; with its several minutes lasting instrumental intro it just isn't a song that's easily to play as background music, but if you have the opportunity to relax and really listen, then the song is one big trip.

Overall I can conclude that even without Walker's voice, Archive still managed to sound good and their new lead vocalist does not disappoint, although he does seem to have a striking resemblance with the former singer, vocal wise that is. Let's hope that the sometimes unoriginal sounding songs are just the last few obstacles that Archive needs to avoid for the future, but we can only wait and see (hear, actually) how the follow-up album will turn out.
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3 stars. This album is a little uneven. While the first four tracks bear a strong resemblance to contemporary British alt rock, the last three tracks are pretty much rooted in Archive’s trip-hop past. However, the songs in between them are highlights of the album for me. “Fold” is a gorgeous, piano laden pop song, chosen for the second single. The title track is a stunning 18+ minute post rock opus that manages to be entertaining throughout its whole time, and while the last 5 minutes drag on a little, it’s the best composition Archive ever recorded. There’s also the first single, “System”, an ear catching little angry song that got me hooked to this album in first place. The rest is decent enough to give it a listen once in a while, though nothing to rave about.
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Tracks

1. Sane (4:27)
2. Sit Back Down (6:36)
3. Veins (4:02)
4. System (4:02)
5. Fold (4:38)
6. Lights (18:29)
7. I Will Fade (3:09)
8. Headlights (3:32)
9. Programmed (5:45)
10. Black (2:52)
11. Taste Of Blood (4:34)

Total Time: 62:06

Musicians

- Pollard Berrier / vocals
- Danny Griffiths / guitar, bass
- Darius Keeler / keyboards

Additional Musicians:
- Dave Penney / guitar, vocals
- Maria Q / vocals
- Steve Harris / guitar
- Pete Barraclough / guitar
- Dom Brown / guitar
- Mike Hurcombe / guitar
- Smiley / drums
- Matt Martin / drums
- Lee Pomeroy / bass, Mellotron
- Steve Watts / Hammond
- Adrian Northover / alto sax
- Phil Walton / tenor sax, baritone sax
- Caroline Hall / trombone
- Glen Gordon / trumpet
- Jane Hanna / horn


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