19 May 2022

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Lake South - Album Review: The Light You Throw

03 Oct 2021 // A review by Danica Bryant

“Let’s talk about politics, let’s talk about feelings”, sings Lake South on his latest album The Light You Throw, an excellent thesis statement for an album which covers such a spectrum of thought. It’s an astoundingly innovative album, melding electronic synth-pop with introspective folk, and resulting in a record I cannot call anything but pure magic.

Lake South is a shamelessly Kiwi performer, singing in a thick accent with a lyrical obsession over Aotearoa’s political, social and environmental landscapes. He is in constant motion across his third album from the glistening opening moments of Townbelt, which is drenched in synths, drumbeats and visuals of waste, dirt and rock that define the record’s strange yet satisfying aesthetic world. New Bourgeoizealand (Lucky) and Hope and the Light You Throw offer pop as eccentric as it is polished, with brass, synths and drum machines musing on both the joys and horrors of “the state of New Zealand”.

Deeply personal nostalgia fills this record, which finds several track titles in the names of people in Lake South’s life. Specific locations like Matairangi, Castlepoint and Central Hawkes’ Bay fill the lyrics, as do moments of drinking, climbing, cooking, crying and all in between. It’s clear these songs cover intensely important moments in his life. But somehow, as vulnerable and individualised these lyrics are, they remain equally relatable, calling upon emotions we’ve all felt on just as deep of a level.

Arguably the most sorrowful number on the album, Anticoagulant (Getting Used To It), shudders beneath the threat of running out of time. It’s a serious note amongst a relatively joyful collection of songs, but the stunning banjo and subtle backing vocals make it extremely moving without dragging listeners down. Similarly, the driven acoustic guitar on Andrew and James (Seasons) pulls the track along, whilst revealing the rawness of the relationships the lyrics explore. Carefully crafted vocals are a strong theme on every song, from thick effects on Ode to the Lovers at Castlepoint to gang chants and bustling overlap on You Were a Part of It. With often intentionally stumbling spoken melodies being such a feature, Lake South’s focus on strong vocal production adds a pop touch to every track.

One of the most unique aspects of The Light You Throw is that its physical copy comes as a book, filled with photos and essays on the experiences which inspired each song, and highlights of the most significant lyrics. It’s a beautifully visual collection that truly encompasses the emotional journey of the record, powerfully moving all of this feeling into the physical world.

The Light You Throw is an album of movement. It’s constantly travelling, between spaces of nostalgia, moments of feeling, and people with so much to say. It’s an album obsessed with our country, both fiercely in anger and in love with Aotearoa, and how it feels to exist amongst an urbanised clean green world. It’s endlessly happy and yet heartbreakingly sad, mourning the past as it celebrates the present. And I can honestly say it’s the most impressive album I’ve heard in a long time.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Lake South

Lake South is the solo project from Lake of Urbantramper. He has released two songs via Bandcamp; Good Keen Man and Can We Still Blame Youth?

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lake South


The Light You Throw
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Wellington - Te Upoko O Te Ika
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Lake South
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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