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AI Phoenix - The Light Shines Almost All the Way

  by Cyrus Pearce

published: 7 / 6 / 2007

AI Phoenix - The Light Shines Almost All the Way
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Ethereal and exquisite-sounding lo-fi pop on new album from Norwegian band AI Phoenix

'The Light Shines Almost All The Way' is the latest offering from Norwegian band AI Phoenix. Their lo-fi panache has previously drawn comparisons with selected Velvet Underground tracks such as 'Pale Blue Eyes' and 'Jesus', and with lo-fi standards, Low. 'The Light Shines Almost All The Way' takes the band's output much further on from these comparisons. Ten years on from their debut album, 'Film', AI Phoenix have come a long way. Their sound is now full, rich and accomplished whilst maintaining their solid minimalistic ideals. Delicious vocals from Patrick Lundberg and Mona Mark are reminiscent of those from Sarah Records bands, Heavenly and The Field Mice. Their voices are sleepy, but not dreary, and provide an ethereal quality on each of the tracks. Whereas other lo-fi bands are often described as being depressing and melancholic, AI Phoenix could never be tarred with this brush. Patrick and Mona's vocals are silky smooth, effortless and often upbeat and are easily matched by simple well thought out melodies. 'The Light Shines Amost All the Way' shows that AI Phoenix have indeed, by their own admission, been inspired by a wide range of artists such as Leonard Cohen, Sonic Youth and Stina Nordenstam. It also shows that they can cleverly draw from these inspirations without ever being accused of being jumping on any particular one bandwagon. It is somewhat inevitable that this band are inevitably going to be pigeonholed with the lo-fi tag but one gets the feeling this band are fighting back as they have produced eleven individually unique and diverse songs. The album's opening track, 'You and I', is one of the most airy and uptempo songs on 'The Light Shines Almost All the Way', yet steers clear of being twee. It sets the scene for the high standards that follow. 'Peter Pan' swings in from far left with its quirky country feel, a track that would not be out of place on an album by John Peel's favourite German band FSK. Of particular note is 'The Party's Over', which, at the record's halfway mark, is a quiet and refined love song evoking memories of that moment when you are in your lover's arms, gazing pensively into the glowing embers of a bonfire at the end of a party on the beach. Exquisite. The album is summed up so well by Mona, as she whispers on 'Companion', the second track, "Excellent songs about being alone, or in love". If you are one of these, or even both, then you will find a song here with your name on it. AI Phoenix need not have been so modest with the title of this perfect album's title... the light shines all of the way for this band.

Track Listing:-
1 You and I
2 Companion
3 Peter Pan
4 Like We Know
5 Broken Bones
6 The Party's Over
7 He Kisses the Streets I Walk
8 I'm Barely Trying
9 Bring on the Night, Love
10 She Eats Stones
11 Where Only We Go

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