Light Black
Ex Wives


4.5
superb

Review

by Mary Paultese USER (35 Reviews)
May 18th, 2012 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ex Wives is gripping Kinsella-influenced emo injected with healthy doses of post-rock and screamo... all created by just two guys.

Light Black’s two-person studio repertoire with Paul Hundeby handling bass, drums, and vocal duties and Walter Kappler on guitar, has proven to be an effective framework for the Boulder, Co. emo rockers. Desperately screamed vocals, poetic, profound lyricism, and fluctuating rhythms synthesize as one on Ex Wives, yielding impressive results that most four or five-piece groups fail to achieve. Even with such a dense array of instruments and sounds, the album’s guitar work still manages to shine through as its strongest feature. Through incessant, weaving guitar lines interspersed within a powerfully ambiguous post-rock atmosphere, Light Black prove that while many bands can noodle, some simply noodle harder than others. Although each aspect of Ex Wives is executed with poise and precision, the result is an organic, naturally flowing album that plays much more like a unified experience rather than a collection of songs.

At just over 45 minutes long, Ex Wives is not a brief affair. Instrumental tracks and segments feature cyclic, repeating melodies that extend the album’s length and relax its overall pace. Light Black invest just as much time and detail in creating a lyricless void for the listener to delve into as they do constructing dynamic vocal arrangements. The instrumental “Putnam,” and “My Big Gay Greek Wedding,” a track in which vocals intermittently surface, both make use of spacious tremolo and shift the listeners’ attention to the album’s more ambient qualities.

Ex Wives’ seemingly indefinite nature makes it, at times, all too easy to detach from oneself and become hopelessly lost in the vastness of sound. Take “I Smoked Two Blunts with Kurt Travis” (a true story), for example: a slow-burning interlude laced with intricate guitar lines and upper fret-board exploration set to the beat of a persistent yet soothing rhythm played on the ride. Even with the extensive amount of voiceless sections on the album, however, no instrumental venture lasts too long before the return of Hundeby’s shrill and expressive storytelling.

Unlike screamo contemporaries such as Pianos Become the Teeth and The Saddest Landscape whose music is overcome by a prevailing theme of sadness and grief, Light Black take on a more lighthearted approach. Though the band’s lyrics are serious and not always pleasant in nature, the stark contrast between the somewhat dire lyrical content and the melody of the songs beautifully relieves the tension. “Corporate” exhibits this contrast perfectly, with the album’s strongest and most gripping vocal performance. At about halfway through the track, Hundeby hopelessly poses the question, “Why was such a perfect thing made to die, God? Are you really up there, or am I all alone?” before bittersweet guitar chords partially alleviate the emotional strain. In doing so, Light Black create a mood that straddles the line between upbeat and ominous, oscillating at times, while many bands within the genre instead gravitate toward one side of the emotional spectrum.

Ex Wives has a lot going on; ambient instrumental segments and endless guitar fiddling are tied together by an emotionally taut vocal performance, making for a very thick sound that may be somewhat overwhelming to the listener at first. Without a doubt the album sounds good right off the bat, but it may take repeated listens for one to truly comprehend everything that Light Black is doing. Once unmasked, however, Ex Wives becomes a powerful, engaging listen with many discreet features to dissect from the whole. That being said, attempting to truly pick apart such a naturally beautiful album would be doing it an injustice, for sometimes, music is simply meant to be absorbed – not examined.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
pmmets07
May 18th 2012


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you definitely should. only second to the menzingers for aoty so far. did an interview with them also which you can check out below

http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/2012/05/album-review-and-interview-light-black.html

Photon
May 18th 2012


1292 Comments


Currently listening to this (from their band camp), its pretty good.

HenchmanOfSanta
May 18th 2012


1882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn't expect a review of this, but it's a pretty solid album. And free.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

bakkermaarten007
May 18th 2012


3601 Comments


The screams are all over the place and they rely too much on twinkling.
There's a lot better post-rocky skramz to find and a lot better midwest emo revival bands. They don't add anything new to the genre nor do they have their owwn signature. Sounds a lot like CSTVT, Park Jefferson, Algernon Cadwallader and contemporaries. With PBTT alike screams.

Definitely not 4,5, they don't do anything bad, but don't excel in anything either.

pmmets07
May 18th 2012


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they create much more of an atmosphere than Park Jefferson, Algernon, etc. (who are all awesome in their own regard). i think they blend that style with the whole post-rock/screamo sound quite well and it makes something unique (to me at least, if there is something that sounds really similar then point me to it).

LifeAsAChipmunk
May 19th 2012


4854 Comments


Intersting.

bakkermaarten007
May 19th 2012


3601 Comments


Well, I think most midwest emo revival bands sound quite alike. This one is no exception, if you disagree that's your good right. All the bands I mentioned before seem like a source of inspiration for these guys. This 4,5 is thereby a little too much imo. But hey, I've heard maybe too much emo and can't easilyget excited any longer.
I don't know if you've heard CSTVT/Castevet's 'Summer Fences': definitely listen if you already think this band creates atmosphere.

Dstnmrrs
May 19th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's no Switchfoot but I can dig it.

bakkermaarten007
May 19th 2012


3601 Comments


You do realize you just gave it the maximum rating right?

Dstnmrrs
May 19th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wasn't born yesterday.

GeraldFord
May 19th 2012


1 Comments


I got these guys on my "taking a dump" playlist.

pmmets07
May 19th 2012


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i hear you bakker. i've heard summer fences a few times but couldn't get into it. maybe i'll give it another shot.

cryMore
June 19th 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is awesome

pmmets07
June 19th 2012


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes, and fuck yea nice dig

cryMore
June 23rd 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bumping this to 4.5, loving the twinkly guitars and post-rock influences

pmmets07
June 23rd 2012


5900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it's a pretty cool amalgamation of genres. more people should hear this. last year iselia and
crash of rhinos were so big on here and personally i think this is a bit better than both.

cryMore
June 23rd 2012


469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't listened to Iselia, but yeah this is better than Crash of Rhinos

Blackbelt54
August 11th 2012


4276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahhhh this is sooo goooood

treeqt.
October 18th 2012


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice release date

XingKing
November 29th 2013


10855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Instrumentally, this album is awesome. The vocals really drag this down though.



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