Light After Dark
- Reviewed by John Price
- Published on May 4th, 2011 at 3:38p.m.
I first heard Clare Maguire's voice on a remix of one of her songs — the Breakage remix of Ain't Nobody — on an otherwise bland advert for a Renault Clio. I was immediately hooked, drawn into the velvety, smooth new age singing I was hearing.
By now you've probably heard a fair few of the songs on this album through osmosis while you've been listening to the radio, Spotify adverts, and TV. You're probably familiar with Ain't Nobody, Last Dance and maybe Shield and Sword. They're probably the clear standout tracks on the album.
The whole album has a kind of operatic feel to it; high notes, low notes, a string section and plenty of bass fill the album with a refreshing open sound. It's almost like the audio equivalent of rubbing some Vicks VapoRub under your nose (maybe not as strong — it's not tear-jerkingly good). While the instrumental elements on the album are superb, it's the vocals which really shine. Her voice can reach the lows (lower than most), yet has the range to reach the highs, which she uses really effectively on tracks like Happiest Pretenders and Break These Chains.
I've read a few reviews of this album, and they mostly seem to be negative about it. I think their problem is that the album does suffer slightly merely by the fact that it's not one you'd listen to recreationally. It's an album which is best listened to when you're in a certain mood. It's not, for example, a party album. Nor is it really background day-to-day music. You actually have to sit down and listen to it when you get the feeling. That will probably stop people from actually enjoying the album — at least when they've been forced to review it — which is a shame. Because it is a really good album.
I would say if you like either Ain't Nobody, Last Dance, or Shield and Sword (see tracklist for links to the music videos), you'd probably enjoy the album.