Lights Out Asia
Hy-Brasil


4.0
excellent

Review

by Deviant STAFF
June 13th, 2012 | 49 replies | 11,126 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: From here, we can build eternity

Listening to a Lights Out Asia album is somewhat akin to experiencing a day observing the comings and goings of an airport. Not in a conveniently comedic I’m- a-victim-of-political-revolution Tom Hanks kind of way, but there’s an air of mystery and foreign insecurity that inhabits the world that this Milwaukee-based trio seem to inhabit. That, to just sit back and watch as strangers arrive and take their first steps in a strange land or to see others disappear into the great beyond in search of their own lives should be an image that springs to mind is of no great surprise, there’s always been an earnest kind of trepidation that their music so easily seems to inspire. The idea of travel and, to a greater extent, the vast unknown, has always been at the forefront of the group’s sound, more so even than the ideas of lost identity and existentialism, the cold war paranoia shtick that seems to follow the band wherever they go. Yes it’s a theme that’s been repeatedly used as a sort of placement, a hook for the narrative flux to hang on; but more than the conflict itself, Lights Out Asia have always been about the aftermath. The beginning of new eras, the changes in the world, the toll dealt to the human spirit; it’s the lingering doubts, the jet-lagged outer-body experiences…. the what if’s instead of the what happened.

Much like the city of Atlantis, Hy-Brasil takes its name from myth, a phantom island cloaked in mist except for one day every seven years….. though as all good legends go the island could still not be reached, thus of course preserving the integrity and mystery of said legend. As a reference point, it represents not just that idea of the great unknown and what lies beyond documented discovery, but also the unattainable, the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The artwork might be the beach just down the road from your house framed by the death of the day, but take away the seagull and it could be daybreak on Mars; it could be the world we know or it might just be something entirely new. If In The Days Of Jupiter was the group looking far beyond our reach, then Hy-Brasil is content with exploring what lies just beyond our reach.

As far as genre clichés go, LOA keep the post rock stereotypes to a minimum for their fifth outing. Motifs span several songs, with Hy-Brasil serving more as a housing for three suites rather than twelve individual movements. Sections still, almost compulsively, revolve around white-knuckled crescendos and Wagnerian-level climaxes but they’re never at the heart of the moment, never the defining instant by which the track lives by. They exist instead as an act of distinction for the lonely melody, the nervous twitch of guitar strings. Which, by contrast, are they seen as being so volatile and explosive, a paroxysm of emotion, of discovery…. of reward. From the trembling brilliance of ‘The Eye Of All Storms’ to the shuddering conclusion of ‘Angels Without Hands’, the paradoxical nature of the group’s music works because of its dynamic; the light versus dark elements that aren’t treated as wholly separate but instead are joined in unison, one balancing out the other.

Hy-Brasil doesn’t predicate itself solely on the building of tension though; while the album certainly holds its fair share of incendiary fireworks, favor lies more with the cradling and spacious ambient arrangements that the group only used to hint at. If Hy-Brasil represents discovery, its contents document the journey, peppered with garbled transmissions from distant shores and the faint sounds of a flock of seagulls cutting holes in the clouds. The forward momentum of ‘Running Naked Through Underground Cities’ and the synth-rock freak-out of ‘Ghost Identifier’ might seem like textural oddities in the wake of arguably the group’s most discordant outing yet, but Hy-Brasil is a well travelled veteran, soaked in foreign customs and conflicting dichotomy. These moments certainly don’t point towards some grand game-changing statement, they simply allow the fragrant atmosphere to exude itself even more. It’s simply the group pushing themselves further than they have in the past.

When they get heavy here (surely someone, somewhere is counting the degrees of separation between ‘Angels Without Hands’ volatile extremities and dubstep) they’re not so much stepping outside their boundaries as they are redefining just how loud and abrasive they can be. Perhaps they are just rattling the bones of the stereotypical corpse of their genre, but look at it instead as a reimagining of what Lights Out Asia are capable of, within and outside of the fundamentals of their often-criticized genre; for what they’ve built here (and in the past) is a dynamic that will last them, and us, a lifetime.



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user ratings (83)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robin
Emeritus
June 13th 2012



4221 Comments


oh really?

time to let this band back into my heart

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2012



30298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Angels Without Hands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUpLaLj7zCw&feature=relmfu
The Eye Of All Storms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgoiQcHTn84
Mont Da Anaon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmpGJofCD3w

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Photon
June 13th 2012



1288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Much better than their last effort. A return to form.

Digging: Pink Floyd - The Final Cut

D41V30N
June 13th 2012



949 Comments


Damn, your reviews, man. So good. Gonna check this out. I love the band.

rotterdog
June 13th 2012



486 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still throw Eyes Like Brontide on at least once a month. Loving this album so far.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 13th 2012



10553 Comments


Better than the last but not a stunning record by any means

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

SeaAnemone
June 13th 2012



18818 Comments


Equally nervous and excited to hear this. Could easily see this going either way, but your 4 gives me hope.

Rev
June 13th 2012



9292 Comments


I only have Eyes Like Brontide but it's pretty sweet. Will check this out


Awesome review, as usual Dev!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2012



23652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i need to hear this

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Anthracks
June 13th 2012



3639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sick of people hating on jupiter. it's their best.

havent listened to this yet but did buy it

Digging: Tobacco - Ultima II Massage

Skimaskcheck
June 13th 2012



2360 Comments


yeah Jupiter was great still i think, everything they've done is awesome

didn't even know about this!

Mordecai.
June 13th 2012



8256 Comments


always really liked this band. Roy is one of my favourite post-rock songs.

Knott-
Emeritus
June 13th 2012



10194 Comments


Yeah I love this.

Anthracks
June 14th 2012



3639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty surprising more people don't care about this. I still prefer Jupiter (one of my favorite albums EVER), but this one is a lot like Eyes Like Brontide and that's what most people love from LOA

Spare
June 14th 2012



5223 Comments


good band that i lost interest in. echoing sea

feav233
June 15th 2012



1411 Comments


I've listened to all their previous releases but somehow I don't think I ever get to this. It is on my (rough list) things to listen to however I really doubt I ever get to it

ZedO
June 15th 2012



1096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool stuff...

minty901
June 15th 2012



1913 Comments


what's special about this post-rock band? i always figured they were another band like god is an astronaut or the american dollar. or are they more ambient than those bands?

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2012



6248 Comments


Never heard of these guys, but the links sound really good.
Could this album serve as a good introduction?

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012



30298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0


what's special about this post-rock band?


Just about everything

i always figured they were another band like god is an astronaut or the american dollar. or are they more ambient than those bands?


They're not really like The American Dollar at all. TAD have always been (and used to be quite good at) that kind of twinkly inspirational twee post rock stuff, with laptop electronics and stuff. These guys are more traditional, they're a band instead of two guys with software

Could this album serve as a good introduction?


It's as good as any, tbh



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