Angel Metro‘s first record as a solo artist, Dark Days Bright Lights, is a dark pop study in heartbreak and hope. It was born out of her struggle between “trying to outrun [her] darkest days and finding inspiration in them,” and, in true witch rock fashion (think Damn The Witch Siren), it is everything to the extreme: gothic glamor, horror, and synthesizer.
Everything about the record is eerie. The first song sets the tone: “Intro (Impossible 2 Hate U)” is a series of plinking piano melodies and vocalized interjections that sound like wailing, arguing, or both and add a witchiness to the mood. Even when you think that this is what the rest of it will sound like, however, “Stranger Times” follows with a smooth, steady synth, an airy sound and heartbroken lyrics (“But when you left without a word/God, it hurt”). As for the rest of the record, from there, all bets are off.
Yes, Dark Days Bright Lights contains tracks like the above, with free-floating synth, but that is not all it is; there are also songs with structure. “Let It Go” has a driving beat that keeps things moving throughout, yet still maintains that haunting feeling through the use of a layer of whispered vocals saying, “Just to feel your heartbeat/Just to feel you breathing.” Just one song later, “Stand By” uses heavy bass to build an outline while still continuing the album’s typical gauzy, shimmering synth and airy sound. There are crunching drums and clearer vocals in “Shadow”, and “Death of a Bride” is in-your-face and far more energetic than any of the other tracks on the record.
The true beauty of the album lies in its ability to contrast elements of individual tracks, however. Yes, the title track is mysterious in its gritty pop, especially because it sounds almost like Wednesday Addams started an electropop band. The last track, however, is remarkable, and it clocks in at just over a minute long. It is slow and syrupy, sucking out whatever energy you had left after that monster of a record, but it somehow maintains a sense of delicacy in the contrast between plucking from what sounds like a harp.
Art is often meant to be unsettling, and Angel Metro’s Dark Days Bright Lights is no exception. It is an eerie, unnerving, witchy beast of a synthpop album, but that is not to say that it is bad; in fact, it is quite captivating. The record sets a strong precedent for any future Angel Metro albums, and it will be interesting to watch how she evolves after this. In the meantime, check out the record below: