Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Thousand Lights - The E.P. review (2013)

Thousand Lights is a band from Southampton based around the gorgeous vocals of Emma Cummins and Harriet Lea-Banks, the guitar stylings of Gary 'amp destroyer' Holcombe and super-cool bassist Simon Kolstoe. Their music is Christian-themed, filled with delicious acoustic strings, percussion and vocals; driven by faith and belief - a true inspiration, washing through their clear, precise lyrics and music.

The début eponymous E.P. features five songs, opening with the wonderful Already Blessed, lead by Cummins, her vocals neatly placed between Natalie Merchant and Thea Gilmore, to deliver a superb vocal arrangement. Holcombe provides supreme acoustic guitar-work to create the flowing upbeat sound, complete with a few neat flourishes. The slower, sombre, more intense, Our Creator is equally good, bringing in Lea-Banks for backing vocals and a soaring chorus, the duo blending perfectly. And it is Harriet who takes the lead for Matthew 16, centred around the biblical text in which Jesus foretells his death and resurrection. "What price to pay for my soul, there'll be no angels, no glory, no truth... Take up your cross and follow him. We surrender..." is heartbreaking and beautiful songwriting. Your Light is another superb arrangement framed with Holcombe's shimmering guitar-work juxtaposed against the stern, serious vocal - a fascinating contrast. The dual vocals at the halfway point work brilliantly, adding to the intense atmosphere. The closer, Unfailing Love is the band at their most ambitious, with a raw emotional chorus and Cummins showing her power and range. Holcombe provides the final surprise - a sharp, crisp, guitar solo - a truly wonderful moment!

Faith is obviously important to Thousand Lights and a huge energy for their music and their songwriting. From humble live band to the heights of the recording studio, it has certainly been an inspiring journey and the results show what the band can be - a delicate touch of production to bring out their message, up to the next level and... beyond? Based on this 'teaser' E.P., a full album has to be in the wings, waiting to be lovingly crafted. And maybe guitarist Holcombe can show us more of his skills with a fifteen and half minute solo in the style of Hendrix or Gilmore. Anything is possible...

-- CS

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