Jul 2023 05

Album CoverBlakLight
Album: tHE pADDED rOOM
Category: Darkwave / Synthpop
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2023-05-12
Author: Stitch Mayo (StitchM)


BlakLight’s latest release, tHE pADDED rOOM is a compelling exploration for the California duo. While touted somewhat as an instrumental album, it’s more the inverse – the vocals become an instrument while the electronic layers are firmly front and center. It’s no mean feat how each song has a distinct sense of flow to the next to create a sense of progression, while remaining their own entities. Over the course of the album, the deliberate repetition and dynamic building makes for a highly immersive experience. There’s a very palpable and intimate sense of being in the same room with the band as they delve into their deep creative process, from the vocal phrasings to the magnificent synth and pad work. BlakLight’s ability to capture this sense of presence adds an additional layer of authenticity and connection to the album.

“Craving” stands out as a prime example of the duo’s ability to evoke atmosphere; with its brooding ambience and steady pulsing synths, it captures something reminiscent of Tears For Fears, emanating desire and a brooding sensuality where “Head Over Heels” feared to tread. “Devour” is a captivating track that seamlessly blends the nostalgic essence of the ‘90s with a forward thinking approach to production. From the moment the song begins, listeners are transported back to a time when dark and brooding music reigned supreme in the sci-fi and horror cinema of the time. The vocal production on “Breathe” showcases a brilliant display of creativity, infusing the song with an unexpected sense of desperation. As the track unfolds, the repeated use of two chords forms a foundation both mesmerizing and emotionally impactful. The deliberate repetition of the vocal mantra, combined with a gradual and calculated dynamic build, creates a sense of urgency and longing that feels almost devastating in its intensity. Every note and vocal nuance serves to heighten the impact.

In all, tHE pADDED rOOM is a bold and introspective offering from BlakLight. To define this as an instrumental record would be a great disservice as it never falls into the usual self-indulgence that tends to accompany such albums. While Brian Belknap does provide vocals and lyrics, they’re sometimes even less important than the soft synths, which serves all elements incredibly well. By venturing beyond their brighter synthpop roots, BlakLight had pushed beyond its own confines and provided an auditory delight in the process.
Track list:

  1. This is the Place
  2. Craving
  3. Redefine
  4. Devour
  5. Alone Again
  6. Breathe
  7. Sorrow
  8. Away From Me
  9. Curtain Call

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