Although the name might suggest that Lydia is a female singer, they are in fact a band playing indie rock music. At the time they released this album, Illuminate, in 2008 they had six members, but due to disputes among them currently they only have two. Illuminate is Lydia's second album and the most successful one. In my opinion it is definitely the best. I was first introduced to the band as I saw this album cropping up on a couple of "best albums of the year" type lists as 2008 came to an end. I have listened to it a lot since then and I love it. However, not many people seem to have heard of it and it is massively underrated.
This album is pretty perfect from beginning to end and there is not a single song that I dislike or want to skip past. I don't think Lydia really sound like any other band I can think of and they have a unique sound.
The track list is as follows:
This Is Twice Now
A Fine Evening For A Rogue
I Woke Up Near The Sea
All I See
One More Day
...Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad
Now The One You Once Loved Is Leaving
This Is Twice Now starts the album with delicate piano then heartfelt vocals with both a male and female voice, as is typical of the album. It has warmth, intrigue and feeling.
A Fine Evening For A Rogue continues at the same high standard, with soft and simple lyrics such as "don't you ever get lonely" building into a lush and full musical treat at the end.
I Woke Up Near The Sea is a really strong song on the album and would definitely have wide appeal. It is soft and tuneful, building in intensity.
Hospital is also a highlight and features Aaron Marsh from the band Copeland. It is a haunting, beautiful and thoughtful song.
The high standard set by the first songs continues throughout the album and there is no filler in there. As well as the softer, dreamy songs which make up most of the album, there is also a more upbeat tune included. Sleep Well is extremely catchy. Due to the name I first thought I would be another slower one, but it's not. It does have its slow parts, but for Lydia it is definitely upbeat and poppy! It starts "liar liar, you never called, but I'll be just fine, sleep well" to give you an idea of it. In contrast to Sleep Well, the song Stay Awake is another slower one!
Although many of the songs are slower and a bit sad in atmosphere, they are not dreary or boring at all, as they are all full of feeling and intensity and are musically very full with harmonies of various band members providing interesting vocals and the instruments including piano, guitar, percussion, strings, leading to lush, soaring and at times almost orchestral music which can be dramatic at times, and subtle and delicate at other times.
I would definitely recommend you to give this a listen. I think anyone could like this really if they tried it with an open mind, but I suppose I would recommend it primarily to those who like indie rock with a unique sound, so mixed vocals and a wider range of instruments, not just guys with guitars!
You can listen on Spotify or buy it on Amazon and possibly various music shops but I have only checked the Amazon pricing. Because it is a bit less well known than some, its price is a bit higher. It costs £16.70 directly from Amazon, but you can buy it used from the market place for £5.21 plus postage at the moment.
My oh my - Where did this come from?
Out of leftfield, Lydia have created the album of the year, one which any self-respecting music fan should be compelled to hunt down and try out. You won't hear these songs on the radio, or accompanying advertisments on TV - the sounds here are too delicate, too special to be debased through the media.
Opener, 'This is twice now' sets the scene, all breathy vocals and lush instrumentation - Gliding along on a wave of male/female harmonies, its the perfect introduction to the treats within
Album highlight, 'Hospital' is boosted by the stellar vocal work of Aaron Marsh (Copeland) which helps to drive one of the more bombastic tunes to even greater heights.
This is an album to be consumer within one sitting, in its entirety - 'I woke up near the sea' would act as an effective single, but loses some of its magic when withdrawn from its home on the album - Theres no need for the fast forward button here, just sit back and let the album of the year wash over you.
Lydia are unfortunately a totally under appreciated indie/ambient band. I am hoping that this review will bring them to peoples attention a bit more. Two albums in now Lydia are finally headlining their first tour in the U.S after releasing this album, Illuminate, in October last year.
This album is stunning, both musically and lyrically. After a change in line-up since their first album 'This December; It's One More and I'm Free' this one sounds even more hauntingly beautiful than the last.
In my iTunes i put these under 'Ambient Indie' as they have all the warmth and often infectious sounds of a good indie band but with vocals that will make you melt.
Every song delivers another wonderfully harmonic set of vocals with a solid drum and guitar backing and a wonderful play off between male and female vocals.
Stand out songs include 'Hospital' which sounds at first like it has been recorded in a church, with the vocals seeming to wrap themselves around you and whisper in your ears. The passion in Mindy White's words can be heard particularly powerfully in this song with a solid musical accompaniment i recommend this to help get you into the bands style.
'I Woke Up Near The Sea' starts with a dramatic drum driven beat that softens back into the soft vocals of Leighton Antelman and continues along a rollercoaster of highs and lows both vocally and musically.
The majority of the album is knitted together wonderfully to create seamless movement from one track into the next, so as a hint, don't listen to this with your iPod or CD player on shuffle.
--- Summary ---
An album that cries out for more attention that it is getting. Sit back with a loved one, close your eyes and drift away in a lullaby of Lydia.
See more about the band at http://lydiamusic.com/
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 This Is Twice Now
2 Fine Evening for a Rogue
3 I Woke Up Near the Sea
6 Sleep Well
7 Stay Awake
8 All I See
9 One More Day
10 ...Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad
11 Now the One You Once Loved Is Leaving