SINGLE REVIEW: Caroline & The Lights – ‘Once Or Twice’


Caroline & The Lights are new to me; I’ve been missing out big time. If you’re already on that train, I can only be somewhat jealous of you. So this review is going to be coming at the band from the point of view of a newbie.

The band describe themselves as ‘always melodramatic’, and this is no different. ‘Once Or Twice’ drips with a dark moody atmosphere, a gothic theatricality. it’s haunting, it’s powerful. Musically it’s hard to pin down but I’m going to give it a go. I get hints of early Kate Bush, Hazel O’Connor, a touch of Sparks, and something of a slow jazzy cabaret feel. And this is a very personal thing, it reminds me of ‘Angie’ by The Rolling Stones (listen you’ll see) and possibly strangely of the slower songs in Rocky Horror musically.

And it’s hugely ‘visual’ music. I can’t help visualising a moody black and white video, set in a smoky empty elegant cocktail bar, atmospheric shots of empty streets.

If you pinned me into a corner and insisted I come up with a snappy description – and that’s something I hate to do with music this good – I’d say ‘it’s an Art-Pop torch song’.

The thing that is going to hit you right between the ears is Caroline’s voice. She has a voice that’s powerful, emotional and capable of going from a whisper to a piercing note. And that voice is singing great words, that tell a story of unrequited love, words that tug at your heart.

But while her voice is up front it’s backed by music that is sophisticated and compliments Caroline’s voice and the song completely. The song is piano led with touches of guitar and violin, huge soaring swells of sound that pull you emotionally this way and then that way.

This is music of a kind that I haven’t heard in more years than I care to think about; music that is unashamedly emotional, dark and moody, that cares not for not being of a genre of now because it’s timeless. I hadn’t realised quite how much I’d missed music like this.

This is a beautiful coming together of a great song, and scarily brilliant vocals and music. I love this song, I am addicted and obsessed, this is just so good it hurts.

The info

Written and performed by Caroline & The Lights.

Guitar – Tom Caunt
Cello – Mike Andrew
Bass – Liam Hill
Drums – Joshua Steven
Piano and vocals – Caroline
Strings – Caroline
Backing vocals – Caroline
Songwriter, composer, arrangement – Caroline

Produced, mixed, and mastered by Paul Tuffs

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.