The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Loving’s ‘Any Light’ – A Pleasant yet underwhelming piece

Screenshot from Visions live video Loving

If you’re looking for a modern take on a collection of 60s-inspired minimalist love ballads, then Loving’s “Any Light” is for you. If not, then there is not much else to be found here. 

Loving is a Vancouver-based indie rock band comprising vocalist and multi-instrumentalist duo Jessie Henderson and multi-instrumentalist David Parry.

The band’s discography is made up of short, stripped-back songs that are soft and pleasant, with the occasional weepy guitar solo that acts as a stabilizer, giving dreamy and ambient sections some structure. The group’s most recent release is an even more stripped-back and simplistic effort.

Gone are the front and center synths of 2020’s “If I Am Only My Thoughts,” as well as the in-your-face production of their 2016 self-titled debut. “Any Light” takes the lo-fi, ambient qualities of both works and runs with this concept.

From beginning to end, “Any Light” maintains a relaxed and atmospheric quality, with ‘60s-style drums complemented by lush, washed-out guitar and synths in every track. Soft, breathy vocals cement the tone of this album, with lead vocalist Jesse Henderson delivering an almost half-hearted approach to his singing. The combination of the straightforward instrumentals and half-sung vocals is charming but often leaves the tracks feeling unfinished. 

At times, this formulaic approach becomes very monotonous, with tracks like “Medicine” and “Uncanny Valley” bleeding into one another in a nearly seamless, if not forgettable, way. As the album reaches its midway point, it wakes up a bit, with songs like “On My Way to You” and “Gift” forgoing some of the low cut-warmth in favor of a gloomy yet pleasant slide guitar floating in the mix. This is quickly followed by a return to the album’s usual form, with a radio-warp effect seemingly informing the listener that they are back to the mild and gentle scheduled programming.

Lyricism has certainly been Loving’s strong suit since their debut in 2016, and this most recent release is no exception.

The songs on “Any Light” read like modern love poems, with each track delving into the mundane, transforming simple moments into beautiful, idealized snapshots of romance. “No Mast” is the standout in this regard, with the three-minute, sleepy tune asking a series of simple questions, starting with “What if I loved you like it couldn’t last?” and finishing with “What if I loved you like a ship without a mast? / Moving slowly through the waters of your past.”

The album’s lyrics save it from too much of the repetitive banality that can sometimes be found in works that focus solely on a single concept, and with every song on this piece having a very similar instrumental section, the songwriting certainly does a lot of heavy lifting.

While an overall pleasant experience, Loving’s “Any Light” leaves the ears wanting more. The unchanging instrumentals paired with a speak-singing vocal delivery that doesn’t like to change lanes leaves very little to latch onto at times, leaving the listener to wonder what could have been. The individual tracks connect almost too well with each other, never varying in tone or sonic diversity. 

Previously, Loving has proven with past releases that it is possible to create an engaging and captivating LP while keeping the songs minimalist and laid back. However, “Any Light” leaves too much to the imagination, with the simplicity of these songs causing the ear to wander away from the piece.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Ticker

Comments (0)

All The Ticker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *