Emotions are a complex thing. You can be happy one moment and totally crushed the next. Music can help you aid your wounds, either by telling you it's okay or by saying their pain is worse. But have you ever heard an album that can stimulate emotions, even maneuver them? An album so beautiful you could cry in happines or sadness? I know I haven't before. But Neverending White Lights was the first artist to trigger that emotion in me. An almost unheard of act in today's music. Where new music asks you to go out to parties and dance the night away, others have way more meaning. NWL asks you to do the opposite. He (Daniel Victor, aka NWL) wants you to listen to music with emotions. He want's you to embrace your feelings, other than toss them aside and party.
A one man opperation, Daniel Victor teams up with Canadian artists such as Finger Eleven's Scott Anderson, Alexisonfire guitarist/City and Colour himself Dallas Green, even Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace comes along to perform vocals on this album. And that's all they pretty much do, with the exception of an acoustic guitar or two by the guests. Daniel Victor plays all the instruments on the album, an impressive amount too. You can tell by now that Daniel Victor is serious about music. Hell, he even produced the record himself. But enough nonsense. Onto the album.
Act I: The Hour Arrives:
On the first act of the album, the mood is dark, but beautiful nontheless. On From What I Once Was, Victor takes a lurching, melancholie piano riff, adds Tea Party inspired vocals, strings, and creates a 6:00 masterpiece, superb for the first song on the album. The lyrics are very sad, even to the point at disturbed. But anything less wouldn't fit the song itself. Angels and Saints comes with a faint chords, indian percussion and a Radiohead-esque voice. Another moody piece that doesn't really have much musical significance, but the vocals can really take you away. At a short 3:10, it tends to repeat itself, but it's actually the third shortest song on the album. The next song is a Joy Division song (Yay!). Age of Consent is a quiet, seemingly happy piece that you can lay back and just think too. A seemingly perfect Nick Hexum takes on the role of Ian Curtis; low, soothing and nicely orchestrated to the piece, which has a faint bass line that is very familiar to Joy Division fans, but can also be enoyed from people who don't know who Joy Division is. A perfect song for NWL to cover. Ending of a Story features Chris Gray, a Blur inspired singer. The piano laced piece is almost like a sad Train song, but, you know, good. The string break is beautiful and inspiring. Other than that, the song doesn't change too much, but it's nice to tune into regardless. Return our Lives starts out like a NIN song, and it really doesn't transform into a NWL songs until about after the first minute. Judah Nagler doesn't give it his best performance that he could have, but it definitley only adds to the song itself. A long, 6:00 piece with odd configurations of speech, and a loud mid-point to the song, this is the perfect end to part One.
Act II: My Angel, My Queen, My Death, My Treasure:
Probably the most intellectually stimulating of the three acts, but definitley the best (and longest). The first song co-stars Scott Anderson, who you will eventually hear, after a mid-length keyboard opening. The sound is a little cheesy, but at least he's playing the right chords for the song. As soon as Scott Anderson enters, it actually has an effect on you. A good one. Though seeming impossibly long, it breezes by. You notice that alot on this album. Gets my vote! Following is A Littlepiece, with was written by Marco Difelice, as well as performed by. Actually standing up to NWL songs, maybe even surpassing a few, this is an awesome song with sad piano, harmonized vocals (the good kind), nonsensical but effective lyrics, seemingly about lonliness. A pretty affective song that really can bring a tear to your eye, if you appreciate music such as this. Followed by This Longing featuring Daniel Greaves, another long but powerful song. Featuring strings and voice for a good chunk of the song, it's followed by piano, drums, strings and voice all very very depressing. Depressing as it my be, it's very amazing, especially in the chorus with the speeded up tempo and sad chords to boot. Harmonized vocals kick in, and the song repeats. Of All the Things You've Done Wrong is impossibly like an Alecia Keys inspired song, thanks to Jason Martin and Nathan Larson. The first skippable song on the album, but the only one thank God. Tired of Saving Souls is an acoustic gem, with John Campsey performing vocals. It is very beautiful, for an acoustic song. Campsey provides the very agile vocals, which fit the song perfectly. The drum programming is a savory part of the song, as well as the nice chorus. Followed by the shortest song on the cd, How Could I Survive, with Sharkey Laguana. Who?. Who cares, it's a very nice, short song with not much to offer except silent listening music, which is the basis of the album. Strings enter, and it becomes a short epic.
This song deserves it's own paragraph. The Grace with Dallas Green is the albums most enchanting moment. Over acoustic guitar, the lead guitar offers a piano-influenced riff, which leads into Dallas' impressive performance, a blend of his graceful City and Colour work, and the very agressiveness of Alexisonfire. The chorus is arguably the best part on the whole album. Complete with simple but effective music, and Dallas' just cranking out his most inspiring moment...possibly yet. This is the song that gave this album 5 stars intead of 4.5. This is the song that made me buy the cd. This is the song that completes the genius Act II. This is THE song, concluding Act II.
Act III: A Pale Nation Sleeps In Misery:
The ending part of the album, with all the tracks being different and excellent in their own way. From the opening drumming and keyboard strings, the piano and the vocals performed by Matt Talbot, The First Days Of Spring is a gem with style and substance. The piano is very soothing, and the very mellow drumming only adds to the piano. Matt Talbot plays both guitars and bass, and Drums are performed by Jim Kelly, giving Daniel Talbot a break for a while. A very soothing chorus only adds vocals repeating "Just Before The First Days Of Spring". A simply great song. Liar features Our Lady Peace's Raine Maide, in a croaky voiced role, something he's no stranger to. The piano is very creepy sounding, and the song changes at about one minute, complete with theatrical styled vocal styles, and an electric guitar. Some very nice lyrics are included in the song. At a short 3:45, the song is over too fast. Life Is A Dead Scene may sound like a very disturbing song, but it really isn't. It has some dark elements, such as Todd Kerns' vocals (low and mellow), and the first profanity, but the song isn't really all that dark, at least not as dark as some other tracks on the cd. Mid way through the song, drums come in with a spellbinding effect to the song. It turns into a very relaxing peice. A chorus comes in, with a some lower chords, and Todd sounding like Axl Rose, weirdly enough. Taking up 8:00 minutes of the cd, Our Final Hymn is breath taking, with Jimmy Gnecco providing vocals. As the piano comes in after about 1:20 of silence, the song begins to take form into a very stunning piece. As the second, harmonizing voice enters, harps come in, and the song becomes a very brilliantly soothing piece, after a whole album of sadness. The musical part is arguably the finest part of act III, as it has a howling, slow, trudging piano and a very distinctive but faint guitar. The perfect ending for a brilliant album.
This album is the follow up to The Arcade Fire's brilliant Funeral. It has as much genius packed into one song that some artists can barely fit into a whole album. Every song has something new to offer, but the highlight is The Grace, the beautiful ballad with Dallas Green.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading.