Damien Verrett’s latest effort as So Much Light is a true wonder of indie synth-pop. Filtering mainstream pop through his unique instrumentation and imagination, he makes something worthy of top 40 play but so much more at the same time. While it does run into a few eccentric fall backs and stumbling moments, the clever sound and overall delivery will have you excited for his follow up and future collaborations.
With a swell of harps and trumpets, “New Game” offers a stripped back take on the loops of “Little Fanfare.” Coming in with a more brash take, “Little Fanfare” electrifies each instrument, while offering dirty distorted guitars that shriek endlessly. The pop vocals dance around the blend of fuzz and light electronica for a track that’s as elegant as it is suave.
Fast but poppy, “Full Body Mirror” pops along with a light flicker as Verrett rides the waves of instrumentation sensually. The mix of xylophones and woodwinds come together for a uniquely classic sounding backing that feels as modern pop as it does vintage. Mixing parts of electronic pop with tones of Mother Mother, “Love That Never Fades” has a rising mood that keeps the emotion constantly high. The high soaring notes cut through the empty breaks powerfully, just as the tumbling bridge hooks listeners back in.
“Stomping Ground” takes a bit, but flies thanks to delicious vocal lines that lift some of the more bland backing track. The wubbing chorus keys also provide a sharp contrast that makes the vocal hooks even more exciting. On a starkly recorded synth line, “Be Afraid” has both corny and creepy tones that fit its darker themes, as well as making it all stand out. The dense backgrounds keep the extremely barebones verses from dragging too much as well.
Slowing down for a spell, “Idiot Soul” shuffles along on loose harmonies and meandering beats. While a little too hushed the vocals moments and mood the track creates are worth the break. A tad repetitive, “Artificial Sweeteners” has a delightful refrain that makes its constant looping more of a joy. It’s mix of shredding guitars and old school R&B grooves also flesh out the mood more.
On massive synth sounds, ” Summoner” purrs under a sparse and robotic tick. The free flow of the vocals, matched with the unique use of vocal samples stand out more than the rest of the production however. “Deep Down” pushes its vocal harmonies over loose piano chords while dissonant electronic lines sparkle through the background. Passing like an interlude “Ultra Sunrise” glows thanks to its simple flute melody, carried by an elegant piano line. After a mix of vintage-tinged pop, the moment of class is beautifully serene break.
“Flagship” flows through a wash of synths and flutes, with creaking sounds and distant beeps to fill out the tone. While the lack of bursting chorus moments leaves something small lacking, the much subtler extended bridges are serene in their own right. Wrapping up the game theme, “Game Over” carries a delicate sense of closure and frailty in its brief but touching strings, both video game-esque and deeply cinematic. “Let It Absorb You” rolls on an enveloping mix of synths and a hook that is both melodically and sonically perfect. The dense pop push of the track flows with utterly entrancing mix of sound and artistry making for a perfect pop song that never feels overstated.
Words by Owen Maxwell