If you loved Lights’ Little Machines album but felt like some of the songs were too upbeat to play on a sleepless night, the Canadian singer-songwriter has thoughtfully repackaged the tracks into a series of mellow low-key jams in Midnight Machines.
It’s not easy to re-interpret your own work, but Lights’ delicate touch gives her songs a new, mellow appeal. Up We Go, originally a stomping piece of encouragement for the jaded, is now a soft guitar-led song, its brooding tone lightened by a cautious sense of hope. This adds a layer of maturity to otherwise clichéd lines like “Dawn is bound to break when the night is done”.
Same Sea continues this vibe, the wild, euphoric original transformed into an intimate ballad, with Lights’ soft vocals ringing intimately in your ears. The musical arrangement sounds simple, but on closer listen you hear a lot going on: strings, guitars and harmonies all blended together.
This stripped-back ballad style also works for the album’s two new songs, Follow You Down and Head Cold; but it makes pieces like Running With The Boys lose all the sense of fun and adventure they had in the original.
The “midnight” in the title might have constrained what Lights could have done, but it’s still eerily good.