LIGHT ASYLUM – LIGHT ASYLUM (MEXICAN SUMMER)
Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello are a Brooklyn two piece who takes the mid 80's production values of Bobby O and apply it to a bunch of tracks that are basic punk rock played solely on electronics.
On paper, comparisons with Crystal Castles are easy, both contain a beat technician with a nifty line in electronic rock tunes and a highly confrontational lead singer but at this point the connection ends. Where Ethan Kath uses the hysterics of Alice Glass' vocals as additional instrumentation, Coviello is working with such a strong singer who could never play second fiddle to the music, she takes centre stage, this means at times the music is pretty threadbare, a necessity considering such a dominating vocalist. At times this works with breath-taking effect, others, the two seem at odds with each other instead of working together cohesively, Coviello is submissive but Funchess kicks the shit out of him anyway.
She splurts and gurgles like the love child of Diamanda Galas and Lux Interior on tracks such At Will and 'Pope will roll' using great sloganeering such as “Go tell the man we are freedom fighters for the taking!" showing off her impressive line in fuck you’s. She’s also effective being overly emotional as shown on the show stopping ‘Shallow Tears’; think ‘Atmosphere’ by Joy Division sung by the weirdo from forgotten 80s losers Classix Nouveaux. Elsewhere ‘A certain person’ utilises minimal r n b beats straight from Timbaland’s box and chucks late 90’s trance riffs at it and Funchess’ strongest vocal performance sounding almost Alison Moyet and is the nearest thing to a pop tune here.
At times you expect them to break out into the ‘Terrorists are gay’ skit from Nathan Barley or at least have a video featuring a chimp enjoying a bit of self-flagellation but no, you just get more neo gothic electronica. It’s an album which does its business swiftly then runs away just before there’s chance for them become annoying.
By Chris Todd