Brooklynites Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello make up Light Asylum and their self-titled debut album will be the soundtrack to your nightmares. Their gothic and abrasive electropop makes for an interesting dynamic as Funchess’ vocals range from screeching to singing.
The first four tracks of their intense darkwave sonics set the scene for an impressive album of heavy synth textures. From the bombastic drums of the opener through to the electrifying synths of ‘Heart of Dust’; the duo pump out exhilarating tunes. Your expectations slowly rise through the opening half and apart from some questionable lyrics, such as “charge me like a credit card” on ‘Pope Will Roll’ and “Go tell the man we’re freedom fighters” on ‘IPC’; but with such provocative beats, you can almost forgive them.
Sadly, though, the good times are fleeting. The duo switch to a lower gear midway through this eponymous release and are stuck there for far too long. The slower ballad moments of ‘Sins of Flesh’ and ‘Angel Tongue’ are dull in comparison to their predecessors. While ‘Shallow Tears’ might be slightly more impressive, the ballad is far less affecting than it should be.
When Light Asylum does attempt to recreate their earlier over-the-top dark synth glory they fail to reignite your interest. While ‘At Will’ is a feisty attempt at reconnecting with their audience, the album is thankfully given a memorable closer in ‘A Certain Person’.
While the debut’s greater moments might seem like they’re brief by the time you get to the end, they’re promising enough to suggest that not only would their live shows be killer, but that future releases could establish the duo beyond something of the hype.
In the meantime, we’re left to ponder on what could have been if Light Asylum were a little more consistent.
– Corey Tonkin.