[Album Review] EMBASSYLIGHTS- EMBASSYLIGHTS
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embassylights

Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Label: Boompa Records

Embassylights is the result of a residency exchange retreat in Reykjavik, Iceland. Four musicians from Calgary – Mark Andrew Hamilton, Samantha Savage Smith, Laura Leif and Clinton St. John – got together with two Icelanders – Benni Hemm Hemm (Benedikt H. Hermannsson) and Prins Polo (Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson) – to collaborate on a musical project. They wrote and rehearsed in Iceland before travelling back to Canada to record in Banff. The result is a sort of indie folk version of Fleetwood Mac.

The intent of the collaboration was to encourage creativity without the constraints of pre-designated roles in a standard musical group. This aim bears fruit in the form of intriguing, albeit subtle, arrangements throughout the record. “Slysio”, for example, is essentially an acoustic guitar ballad, but its tragic beauty is greatly enhanced by the gorgeous background harmonies, a thumping rhythm section and some whistling. The emotional impact of “Cold Skin” is likewise heightened by the rousing accompaniment of several forms of stringed instruments.

Aside from the offbeat and quirky “Bad Weather”, there is nothing on ‘Embassylights’ that pushes any musical boundaries. However, the material that is presented is rock solid and thoroughly enjoyable, making this bi-national project a success.