Review Summary: The late night is calling, act accordingly
There's something just right
about returning to one's digs after an evening spent walking the boards and chalking up the floors, only to carry on the party until well into the sunlit hours. There are countless times when I can remember taking full advantage of a fellow partner in crime's high rise apartment as a final call to the night's frivolities; piling in through the door with the glow of the dance floor still emanating off of us, picking out whatever bottle happens to catch our attention the most, dipping the lights down low, and then watch as whatever soothing house we send through the stereo speakers flow out of the windows and bounce around the night time skyline. Huddled on balconies watching the city below us settle down to sleep as the first streaks of dawn begin their battle against the darkness, while our better halves dance barefoot inside, using the lights above them as their own personal spotlight. And as we say goodbye's and begin the journey home, moving through the empty concrete streets, listening to our footsteps echoing off the silent buildings receiving their first kiss of daylight we always seem to remember that part of the night with the most fondness. And just as that has almost become our end of night routine, so to has Late Night Alumni become the soundtrack to our last little escapism.
Comprised of Finn Bjarnson, John Hancock, the angelic & ethereal female vocalist Becky Jean Willams, and the ever present Ryan Raddon, a.k.a. Kaskade, LNA has been a prominent force on the dance scene since 2003. Now this is largely due to the fact that the group mix a very loungey take on house music and chillout, that when thrown together make for one of the most soothing yet still incredibly upbeat albums in recent years. The songs are kept in check by Becky, whose silky tones literally glide their way over the relaxing beats and melodies, her delivery always flirting with being a little too “cute”, yet still manages to come off incredibly convincing and legitimate; her whispery delivery going hand in hand with the melodic programming of Kaskade.
One of the more interesting aspects to note about LNA is their willingness to always separate the two dominant factors of their sound; instead of over-complicating matters by attempting to fuse both house and chillout into the same sound, they much prefer to alternate between the two distinctly different vibes. Just as one track will see you moving and grooving to their hooks and melodies, the very next will give you the breather you need to recover; everything is kept simple, and as a result their music comes across as incredibly natural and pleasing Take album opener 'Seemingly Sleepy', with its forceful yet never dominant percussion, and simple yet hypnotic looped lines; working its magic on you in mere seconds it opens the doors to your own personal nightclub and takes up residence behind the decks. Kaskade places his influence all over the sound, but allows his usual deep bass to take a backing position this time around, allowing his more melodic tendencies to take center stage. And then following in the quickest of pursuits is 'Rainy Days'; a jazzy and calming number that sees the group dancing hand in hand with more of a trip hop aesthetic. Complete with saxophone interludes and a coasting beat its the perfect accompaniment to the club filling sound of its predecessor. Empty Streets
is all out about the big release and the comedown, before building it all back up again without missing a beat; and its a trick that they pull off to perfection on this album.
Overall, the music is beautifully textured and features the perfect layers of keyboards, guitars, and drum machine beats that, while predominately generous throughout, the moods within each song don’t overlap one another, and thus don’t run the risk of losing your interest. An album that truly oozes sex appeal while still remaining incredibly coy about the whole matter, Empty Streets
is an album best served in the wee hours of the morning, the time when dreams are made with open eyes and every moment is set in stone, at least until the next weekend rolls around. The night will always be there, its what you do with it that defines it.