LITE – Cubic – ALBUM REVIEW

It’s rare when I have time to sit down, indulge myself in an album and attempt to make sense of it in word format. I just had to make the space in my schedule for this album.

As an added bonus, it’s great to stumble across a band I’d seen years ago at ArcTanGent Festival and I’d neglected to follow up and buy their albums. I blame the hazy party destroyed memory. So I am extra excited to re-discover LITE and their rich back catalogue to plunder and binge. But, I’ll restrict myself to just the new LP for now!

Lite Cubic

Anyway, I digress. LITE are a seasoned prog/tech/whizkid/instrumental band from Tokyo. As I type this, I’m on to my 5th or 6th play of the album. Each play reveals more subtle melodies, noises, blips, bobs, ufos, synths and more, layered in there for the listener to locate. It’s a record that you need to listen in stereo (who doesn’t these days?!), but stereo with the speakers placed as far apart as you can. Plonk yourself down in-between, turn the sound up, and just listen to that guitar interplay. Stunning. ‘Warp’ is a great example of this. I’m so fascinated by the compositions that it took me a few listens to even realise there are vocals on this song.

‘Square’ brings the Battles vibes, albeit without the comedy effects and samples. Recorded by none other than Keith Souza. Who captures a lush full sound, which is often missing from ‘cleaner tone’ band recordings. There’s a depth there, something that’s not quite tangible. Production-wise this is a heroic effort.  Souza along with Heba Kadry (who mastered it) nailed this one down.

‘Angled’ pops on, proving a highlight for me with it’s simple jarring hook. Perfect timing, after 5 songs the album still evolving, I want to know where this album will go next.

‘D’ is a ludicrous song. How do I describe it? Reggae, funk dance party jam and damn good fun! See for yourself.

Just when you thinking ‘they can’t top that’,  along comes ‘Prism’. Just perfection.

The album ends on ‘Zero’. This one frustrates me a little. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. Or at least it doesn’t feel like the right finale. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like the track? Maybe. It’s a short album at 37 minutes, but it does feel like the correct length. Ditch the vocal and it’s actually pretty good track. 2016 the year of the instrumental. Most of my albums of the year will be sans vocals. ‘Cubic’ may nudge it’s way into the top 10.

‘Cubic’ is an eclectic mix of intriguing,  robust, , snared and drawn in, lose technical precision. Seemingly effortless playing that can only come from serious dedication to touring and practising. 14 years together, I think they may have delivered their finest work to date.

‘Cubic’ is out on Topshelf Records 16th November 2016.

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