League Of Lights: Dreamers Don’t Come Down
(Eightspace Records/ Plane Groovy)
CD | LP | DL
The League Of Light’s third album, Dreamers Don’t Come Down, proves to be their most assured album to date as its meaningful reflection contrasts so beautifully with its overall uplifting sense of joy. Ian Corbridge gets totally hooked on the good vibe for Louder Than War and hopes this feeling will spread far and wide.
So what do you get when a seductive progressive pop voice crashes into a purveyor of adventurous progressive metal? Well, if League Of Lights is anything to go by you get a marriage made in heaven. And this is most definitely the outcome in the case of Farrah and Richard West.
Farrah and Richard released their debut album as League Of Lights back in 2011 fusing a unique blend of pop, rock and metal. This intriguing mix of styles very much reflected their very different musical backgrounds with Farrah’s sublime and enchanting vocals contrasting with Richard having become a key member of Threshold, a UK progressive metal band who have achieved significant worldwide success, alongside his session and production work with numerous other bands.
In 2019, League Of Lights released their second album, In The In Between, which ventured further into electronic rock, synth-pop and much more besides, all of which was underpinned by strong and distinctive keyboards sounds. I can reference the likes of John Foxx, Goldfrapp, and Ladytron, but in reality League Of Lights have been developing a unique sound of their very own. So with these ever-shifting sands, what influences would direct and motivate their third album Dreamers Don’t Come Down?
The clue to the current album came in a deliberate move towards giving more space for Farrah’s magnificent vocal talents, together with a slight toning down of the synths in favour of more piano-driven melodies. The fact that the album came together so quickly, and so soon after the previous one, was attributed more to the UK’s new lockdown status than any intended shift from their more pedestrian approach to writing songs. Just goes to show what you can achieve without the distractions of modern-day life and more time on your hands.
Opening song, Modern Living, was the first to be recorded even before lockdown began and was the one that really defined where the sound of this album was going. Opening with a dominant and almost distorted bass line that would fill any dance floor, there is a clear sense that we still have much to learn about getting the most of life in the modern-day world. Farrah’s ethereal vocal tones are further underpinned by textured guitars and synth to produce a very strong opening statement.
Considering Twenty Twenty One was written in 2019, lines like “a life undone” and “we’ve only just begun” now have a remarkably prophetic feel. Piano-led with a staccato mesmeric vocal, the song builds into a big chorus line which has an almost euphoric feeling which belies the darker narrative which sits behind it. Ghosts then ups the tempo somewhat as it talks about how we are all shaped and affected by our past experiences. And surely I cannot be the only one to think that the totally uplifting chorus is delivered with a captivating sound and vocal intonation which draws parallels with a certain Pauline Murray. Make no mistake that is high praise indeed from my perspective.
I Still Remember is a reflective piece with a dominant vocal and gradual build in sound towards a soaring chorus at the end. It’s a song full of emotion as it recalls good memories from the past, perhaps tinged with only a slight hint of regret that things could have been better, but still leaving me with a great feeling at the end of it all. Persephone, a name taken from the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology, bursts into life with its upbeat melody and dance floor rhythms whilst contrasting sharply with its subject of death. Again I cannot help but hear echoes of Pauline Murray as a sense of desperation is conveyed within the anthemic chorus. Four songs in and I’m totally hooked.
Dreamers is a slow and introspective piece which focuses on having a much greater sense of positivity for the future, something we all need right now. With You ups the tempo again and is back in classic synth-pop territory with a strong beat throughout. Lines In The Sand is a dreamy pop ballad with an uplifting chorus which gives some hope that promises will eventually be fulfilled if you have enough belief. Seemingly the lyric was started back in 2017 but took some time to morph into a full song. Trust me it was worth the wait.
A haunting piano break introduces The Collector before it hits a stride which would fill any dance floor as it rides through another big chorus. It provides an apt reminder that we often spend too much energy remembering the negative times and issues from the past whilst letting the good memories and compliments go. In a world where we have all endured such challenging times over the past year, the narrative prompted me to feel a strong need to focus on the positives from the past and those to come in the future.
North Of The Sun is another ballad full of faith and hope with a soaring chorus which certainly lifted my spirits. Echoes Of A Dream has another piano-led intro overlaid by an ethereal vocal and is an appropriate album closer in every sense of the word as it provides a montage of the whole album in terms of melodies, lyrics and emotion. It’s a perfect mirror for all that has happened in 2020 but thankfully left me with a very positive vibe for what lies ahead of us.
Farrah stated that the album “is about the past, the present and the future; about taking the best from all that you have been through, the pressures of modern life and keeping your dreams alive in dark times”. And let’s face it these are all sentiments appropriate to where we all are right now. There is also no doubt that the message has been delivered through the often hypnotic and mesmerising quality of the vocals and the sheer passion and energy that runs through the album.
Dreamers Don’t Come Down is the League Of Light’s most assured album to date as its meaningful reflection contrasts so beautifully with its overall uplifting sense of joy. Farrah’s captivating vocals shine like a beacon above the orchestral soundscapes that underpin the album and with the soaring choruses and catchy melodic hooks it has such a feel-good vibe about it. I really hope this album reaches out to a much wider audience because the feeling I get from it is what we all need right now.
All words by Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writing at his author profile.