Where This Meets That
Happy “Tunage Tuesday,” folks!
Last October, I hailed Kishi Bashi’s debut solo album 151a as “simply amazing”. Today, he follows it up with his new album Lighght.
It’s a tall order. 151a was unlike any album I had ever heard; innovative and avant-garde, yet also elegant, listenable, light, and fun. After starting on such a high creative note, Kishi Bashi’s encore could’ve suffered either from gimmicky formula or from trying too hard to recreate a similar level of innovation and going too far to the bizarre.
With Lighght, he kind of does both. And neither. The result falls short of its predecessor but still has plenty of shining moments.
It begins with a little prelude of layered violins that bursts joyfully into “Philosophize in it! Chemicalize in it!”, a song that could’ve fit perfectly on 151a but also makes a great opener here. (Check out the song for yourself at the bottom of this post.)
The next few tunes cover a lot of ground. “The Ballad of Mr. Steak” offers an unfortunate lounge-pop flavor, while the busily arranged “Carry on Phenomenon” caters to a slightly more sophisticated ear. The album’s middle section finds both the quirky “Bittersweet Genesis for Him AND Her” and the touchingly intimate “Q&A”.
But it’s Lighght‘s final third that delivers its best moments. “Once Upon a Lucid Dream (In Afrikaans)” is one of the album’s strongest songs, full of nifty transitions a tight, funky little breakdown.
The two “Hahaha” songs that follow (parts 1 and 2, respectively) are my personal favorites from the album. The first has an airy, house vibe with Kishi Bashi sprinkling dreamy falsetto vocals throughout, then deconstructs into “part 2” that features a spacey groove that Steve Miller would be proud of. “In Fantasia” closes the album as a pensive, prog-rock outro, featuring the album’s richest lyrics backed by sparse violin strums against a backdrop of gusty soundscapes.
All told, Lighght is another unique effort from Kishi Bashi, stylistically diverse enough to offer something that appeals to most open ears and minds. You can pick it up at iTunes today for $9.99!
Lighght score: 3 Falcone Rings