Lydia
Illuminate


4.5
superb

Review

by Blair Chopin USER (107 Reviews)
October 8th, 2008 | 348 replies | 25,452 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lydia correct the flaws from "This December" and make one hell of a record.

4 of 6 thought this review was well written

Lydia’s first album, “This December, It’s One More And I’m Free”, is an immensely disappointing and annoying album. It is not because the album is completely terrible but because the band never really realizes their potential and makes the same flaws throughout the whole album. The album had no flow and it sort of sounded like a “Greatest Hits” album, as every track was trying to be the greatest song of all time and do something completely different from the last track. This became an extreme annoyance and problem with the album, and it was almost like Lydia was trying to be too good and too epic of a band. But I always thought if Lydia could correct the previous albums flaws: the flow, the songwriting, and if they tried to make the songs more accessible, that there next album “Illuminate” could be one of the surprises of the year and be a really superb album.

The first flaw Lydia had to correct is the flow of the album, and they do a tremendous job of that on “Illuminate”. The track-to-track flow on this album is absolutely amazing. As flow is concerned this might as well be considered the “Abbey Road” or “Ok Computer” of the indie genre. You really think that you are listening to one big song that is forty minutes long and it works out beautifully. There are three examples of where this works perfectly: The guitar riff at the end of “A Fine Evening For A Rogue” is very relaxing and it flows swiftly into the electronic based beat like structure of the next track “Hospital”. “Hospital” has a crunchy, edgy, and loud guitar lift that leads into a soft electric guitar and soft drums on the song “Fate” “Fate” has a soft and depressing sort of feel to it yet it flows decently into one of the albums only poppy and optimistic songs in “Sleep Well”. It is not only this albums instrumental flow that is elite, but also the way the lyrics flow together from song to song and seem to tell a story. “All I See”, seems to be talking about someone that is hospitalized or is in an accident and how everything around them scares them almost to death, but “One More Day” has the message that if this person can get through this for “one more day” that they will be ok. In the song “Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad” the instruments and the intensity of the lyrics make us think that the main character has done something worth regretting and in the last song “Now The One You Once Loved Is Leaving”, we find out through male and female vocals what the exact situation is with this couple. This adds an extra and unexpected addition to a band that has already improved drastically on its flow from there last album.

The songwriting on Lydia's previous album seemed forced and almost to dramatic all of the time. On this album not only do you get a more relaxed atmosphere [as mentioned in the above paragraph], but you also find a relaxed, reflective, and not forced style of songwriting. The perfect example of this is the song, "All I See", probably the softest song on the album. This is a spot normally where Lydia would make the lyrics way to dramatic, but on this song they are very relaxed and fit the music nicely. Throughout the album you will see that Lydia's lyrics stick to the story that the album is telling and are very relaxing and reflective.

Another area where Lydia has dramatically improved is their ability to make songs simpler, but not have the songs lose there meaning. Most the songs on hear hover around the four-minute mark, and that may seem like a lot of time to some people. But you must consider that Lydia are filling this time with either improved lyrics or are showing off their newfound instrumental skills. The songs here contain a lot of unique things that are done instrumentally, for example, in the song "One More Day" there is a really cool piano solo followed by an extremely rough guitar riff that somehow flows into the epic chorus. Lydia is more of a generic rock band on this album, but when they do revert back to there "piano rock" roots they do a great job.

It is rare that you see a band in modern music improve from album to album as much as Lydia has. They have corrected all of there obvious flaws and improved by leaps and bounds over their last record. This is not only the surprise record of the year but it may be one of the contenders for record of the year.

Pros:
Flow
Songwriting
Catchiness
Concept Album?

Cons:
Only 10 songs
Not enough hooks


Best Songs:
All I See
Hospital
This Is Twice Now
One More Day
A Fine Evening For A Rogue



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user ratings (374)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
lunchforthesky
October 8th 2008



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This isn't indie, it's clearly rooted in pop punk but they slowed it all down to make it "meaningful". This is just average stuff really, vocals are sub par, songwriting is mediocre. It's just a bland attempt to remake Clarity.

Review is perfectly fine although there's a few their, there and they're mistakes and I obviously disagree with most of what you said.

I really disagree with the comment on flow too, their first album flowed perfectly fine (I think I reviewed it actually) it just had a mediocre sound and songs which is basically the exact same problem with this one. That's not to say they've not improved because they clearly have but they still haven't escaped those key issues which hold their band back. Also OK Computer is far from the king of flow, Kid A would have been a better choice.This Message Edited On 10.08.08This Message Edited On 10.08.08

handoman
October 8th 2008



2380 Comments


I got this a while back. It was pretty good, but I need to listen to it again.

Wildcatforever
October 8th 2008



437 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah this is really a surprise

xNintendoCorex
October 8th 2008



1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i actually agree with most of this review, this album caught me by surprise, its an incredible step up from their previous work, but the review didnt really seem to do it justice its almost like a wordy synopsis

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2008



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Its probably them most gorgeous album of the year but it has almost no depth.

bastard
October 8th 2008



3435 Comments


Review was decent, better than your last few I have to say. Still, yeah, lunchforthesky pointed out all my major qualms with this review.

foreverendeared
November 9th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this MAY make it onto my end of year list, but most likely not. i really do love this album though. I think they also suffer from sounding too much like Copeland

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
November 22nd 2008



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This reminds me of Stars, the pretty indie-pop sorta stuff. Nice listen.

Digging: Pharoahe Monch - PTSD

BallsToTheWall
December 2nd 2008



44164 Comments


Sounds cool so far but i'm not liking the dude vocals.

xNintendoCorex
September 12th 2009



1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whats wrong with them balls? just personal taste?

Writer
November 20th 2009



136 Comments


This sounds pretty good so far.

xNintendoCorex
November 20th 2009



1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh i can assure you it will only get better.

Writer
November 20th 2009



136 Comments


I have a mixed reaction from the album. This seems like it would definitely be a grower, though I'm not sure I'll return to it.

xNintendoCorex
November 20th 2009



1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:O!?
why would you say such a thing?

I admit its a bit of a slow grower, partly because on the surface the songs meld togethor a fair bit, but in the end i think thats one of the albums strengths, its incredibly cohesive, its like 11 versions of a set of focused ideas/concepts.

Knott-
Emeritus
December 1st 2009



10194 Comments


needthis

fromtheinside
December 11th 2009



16386 Comments


just found out about this, and i like it.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

minimesmyidol
March 31st 2010



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

damn goodd album

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2010



17913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

think i might review this, didn't realize this was the only review

this is twice now is sooo good

the chick left the band though so now they're screwed

iamSeraph
April 7th 2010



852 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album so g****** much...it's awesome and touching as hell.

sexpoi
April 26th 2010



597 Comments


they lost the chick from this album? Damn she is hot and she had a better voice than the chick from This December... this album is way better than their debut although i do like a couple songs off of their debut. The music was well done and they improved as musicians. I personally like the dude's vocals, he has a good range and meaningful lyrics. also, good review



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