New Video: Lights That Change’s Spectral, Synth-based Cover of Tim Buckley’s “Songs To The Siren”

Although he never found commercial success within his tragically short life, singer/songwriter Tim Buckley has managed to become admired and deeply influential in the 40 years since his death for his innovative sound which possessed elements of singer/songwriter-based folk, jazz, psychedelia, funk, soul and avant-garde pop and an evolving “voice as instrument” sound. Over the years, a growing list of artist have covered his work including Cocteau Twins, the legendary Robert Plant, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Sinead O’Connor, This Mortal Coil, and others — and the Wigan, UK-based band Starsailor named themselves after the Tim Buckley album, Starsailor, which interestingly enough contains one of his best known songs “Song to the Siren.” Of course, he’s also probably best known to even the most casual music fan as Jeff Buckley‘s father.

Speaking of “Song to the Siren” possesses an elegantly simple arrangement of Buckley accompanying his clear, hauntingly aching vocals with himself on guitar, strumming a sparse yet gorgeous melody.  That kind of beauty should leave you in breathless awe . . .

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past six months or so, you might recall that I’ve written about the dream pop/shoegaze act Lights That Change. The band’s founding member Marc Joy is a Welsh producer and guitarist, who has worked with a number of artists and interestingly enough, his latest musical project can trace its origins to when joy began turning his attention towards his own creative endeavors. Recruiting several musicians, Lights That Change’s debut EP, Rainbow On Your Shoulder was released in 2013 to critical praise and airplay from the likes of  the BBC, Tom Robinson, Amazing Radio and others.

Since the release of Rainbow On Your Shoulder, the Welsh band has gone through a radical lineup change as Mandy Clare (vocals), John Bryan (bass), Rebecca Palin (best known for her stint in Golden Fable) and Mal Holmes (drums; best known for his time with 80s synth pop act Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) were recruited to flesh out the material that will comprise their forthcoming full-length effort, Byzantium which will see a release early in 2016. The album’s first single “Voices” was a gauzy and atmospheric bit of shoegaze comprised of shimmering guitar chords played through subtle washes of reverb,  a steady and propulsive rhythm paired Mandy Clare’s ethereal vocals gently floating over the mix. As you listen to the song you can’t help but notice the song’s lush nuance; it possesses a painterly feel in which you can see and feel the painters’ brushstrokes running across the canvas.

Celebrating their appearance at this year’s Space Fest in Gdansk, Poland, the members of Lights That Change released a spectral and eerie rendition of “Song To The Siren” that pairs Clare’s aching vocals with atmospheric synths and guitar chords, and gentle drum programming. And although, their cover maintains the heartache of the original, it manages to remind the listener of the sound that first won attention across the blogosphere — a dream like haze that feels like it’d dissipate into the surroundings like smoke.