Take away all that electronic noise of her instrumentals, and Lights’ beautiful voice would still blow the speakers out. On Siberia Acoustic, the Canadian electro-pop star strips down all 10 songs from her previous album and shows off why she’s a force to be reckoned with. The acoustic album also includes a few familiar artists from past tours, turning some songs into duets.
Adam Young, of Owl City fame, comes in on the second verse of “Cactus In the Valley,” transitioning the duet into a powerful piano-driven ballad. On “Peace Sign,” Coeur de Pirate chimes in after the chorus with a mouthful of French. It’s probably the most unexpected element of the track, but it works well with the song’s acoustic guitar. This is definitely one of the best tracks, almost reminiscent of finding summer in the midst of winter.
Formerly the opening track on the original album, “Siberia” gets majorly slowed down, but the melody flows with ease on the piano. The addition of Max Kerman of Arkells on vocals probably seemed like an ambitious idea, but to be honest, it was probably the biggest mistake of the album. Kerman’s deep voice doesn’t quite match with Lights’ higher pitch, and he basically ruins what could have been a pleasant duet if a compatible vocalist had been selected instead.
On the flip side, “Where the Fence Is Low” wasn’t originally a standout track on Siberia, but when there are only a few acoustic guitar chords being strummed behind Lights’ divine voice, there is a whole new side to it. The same can be said about “Suspension” and “Heavy Rope,” where Lights’ hauntingly soft voice resonates deep within the ears.
There’s also something about “Toes” that sounds slightly better when it’s not acoustic. Somehow, it loses the excitement and high energy it once possessed when accompanied by the synthesizers and hard electro beats. Lights sounds vulnerable and even a bit helpless as she sings at a whisper. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a completely different vibe.
So what happens when “Flux and Flow” gets the flux taken out of it? One would assume that the song loses its edge, but instead, the track drips with emotion. In fact, it packs more flow than it did before. While this version is essentially the opposite sound of the original, it is probably the strongest track on the acoustic album. Evidently, the guy she sings about really swept her off her feet, and this version will give anyone goose bumps when they start thinking about it.
Siberia Acoustic closes with “And Counting,” which makes a powerful statement with an array of string instruments to accompany Lights’ ascending voice.
While some artists struggle when they actually allow everyone to hear who they really are, Lights is not one of them. Lights’ strength lies in the fact that she has a striking voice that can be heard regardless if it is unplugged.