I’m pretty sure the guy behind The New Light Dwellers wants to stay anonymous. His cover art for his album for All the Stars We Fail to See is a blurry picture which I surmise is of him and I can’t find his name on his website.
All the Stars We Fail to See contains a lot of grand, optimistic energy as if you just chugged a Red Bull and nailed a job interview. It sometimes reminded me of grandiosity of a band like Coldplay or U2 however this music felt less self righteous. There is an indie rock vibe in there as well maybe more aligned with a band like The Shins.
The concepts and themes are just as large as the crescendos he tries to reach. Most of the lyrics focus on the macro. Large, all encompassing, general idea. You will hear lyrics like “We've tried technology / we've tried at chemistry / wagering our humanity / it's never been enough / Rise up / and Stand for Love” and “Shine on / like the noonday sun, you / Shine on / like the starlight rain, you / Shine.”
He opens with “Flesh, Blood and Bone” slowly builds with synth, guitar, drums and more before exploding at the one-minute mark. Right away I enjoyed his singing style. He is really enthusiastic and puts a lot of emotion in his words. There is just no denying that. The optimistic, intense energy continues with “Allies of the Heart” and really doesn’t let up much after that. Whether it's “Stand For Love” which slowly builds into an intense output of sound or the more frantic “Together We Are Better” which sounds like a children's song that has gotten out of control. “Someday (Romancing the Apocalypse)” is a slower, more melancholy track that was desperately needed to balance out some of the energy of the album .
“Let There Be Life I” has one of the best grooves on the album. Around the two-and-a- half minute mark he nails it. That being said the song goes into very different territory after that. It’s definitely a dynamic song and again attempts to find some epic heights. He closes with a relatively straightforward rock song that is the second part to the song.
There is a no doubt that there was a lot of work that was put into All the Stars We Fail to See. He explores different styles and has a huge palette of sounds. I would say perhaps his palette was a little too vast making the songs feel like separate entities rather than part of the same cloth. Take for instance the contrasting tone and sounds of the last two songs on the album. “Let There Be Life I” has a lounge-y, atmospheric ambient and electronic vibe while Let There Be Life II” was straightforward rock. The album would have benefited from a little more brevity. These songs are emotionally demanding and I don’t say that in a bad way. Like a lot of DIY albums that are self-produced we get a little too much of a good thing. I think this album would been easier and more enjoyable to consume at nine or ten songs rather than twelve.
Despite some flaws All the Stars We Fail to See is thoroughly enjoyable and shouldn't be missed. There is some good songwriting and ideas that are presented. I think with a little tweaking and limitation he can take his music to the next level.
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