Bright Lights

Canadian pop princess Lights hits the USA with a spirited new record, “Siberia.”

by Sally Hedberg



WHEN: 6 p.m., Friday

WHERE: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave.

COST: $14

The decade of questionable hair accessories and cocaine was also the decade of New Wave. And during its dance-provoking reign, the 1980s saw bands like Soft Cell, New Order and The Human League unleash a supreme truth about creating pop music: synths are key.

Valerie Poxleitner (Lights) would agree. Slated to play in Minneapolis this Friday, sheâÄôs on a mission to prove to keep the almighty synth in the foreground.

âÄúI think one of the most important things as a musician is to make music that reflects what youâÄôre listening to,âÄù Poxleitner said. âÄúEurythmics, New Order, Depeche Mode, Crystal Castles âÄî I try to apply every genre that I dabble in.âÄù

The influence is as audible as the electronica and the synthesizers. But LightsâÄô music isnâÄôt targeted to a niche, nostalgic audience. ItâÄôs infectious shimmering thatâÄôs danceable and catchy.

The Ontario native started her career in 2006, penning songs for Sony/ATV music publishing and eventually securing management and the opportunity to pursue her own career. After her album debut, âÄúThe ListeningâÄù and a couple years of marathon touring, sheâÄôs returned with âÄúSiberia,âÄù a slightly moodier effort.

âÄúFans always have expectations, but I thought it was important to let the music evolve on its own,âÄù Poxleitner said. âÄú[The album]was surprisingly dark. ThatâÄôs where the name for the record came from. ItâÄôs about an element of heaviness and isolation.âÄù

Though eerie synth structures hint at this complexity, the overall disposition is meant to be more optimistic than her debut. ItâÄôs about a contrast of elements that play out in a more experimental manner. Think hook-heavy pop songs founded on dissonant synths and intricate beats, with PoxleitnerâÄôs sugary vocals rounding everything out.

âÄúThereâÄôs a fine line between being experimental for the sake of being experimental and being experimental because thatâÄôs where the music takes you,âÄù Poxleitner said. âÄúFor me itâÄôs like an out-of-body experience, not because I need it to be, but because I let it.âÄù

For Poxleitner, these sentiments are most importantly captured in live performance. In an era filled with electronic acts, the way things transfer to the stage is increasingly relevant. ItâÄôs the strongest testament to a groupâÄôs musicianship. ThereâÄôs no six-minute improvised guitar solo for a group that operates mostly with technology, so they have to make up for it with visual stimulation.

âÄúThe options you have with just a guitar are limiting,âÄù Poxleitner said. âÄúAnd thatâÄôs just not my style. We create a whole other level of energy onstage.âÄù

Onstage is a second home to Lights. Her grueling tour schedule will continue all throughout the next year with minimal breaks, after which she plans to delve right into the next album. If thereâÄôs any shred of relaxation time at all, the self-professed âÄúnerdâÄù can probably be caught playing World of Warcraft or reading comics. But, all things considered, behind a microphone is where she belongs.