See You In The Stars by the Lightning Seeds – Album Review

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By Victoria Holdsworth

The Lightning Seeds, indie’s unsung heroes, return after a 13-year hiatus with See You In The Stars, their seventh studio album, and another beautifully illustrated page in mainman Ian Broudie‘s kaleidoscopic book of pop.

On first listen it quickly becomes apparent that the new line-up has not lost any of the Lighning Seeds’ unique charms. Lyrically or by way of their melodically crafted unrivalled sounds, you can instantly tell you are listening to one of Liverpool’s finest set of troubadours.

It opens with the beautifully mournful ‘Losing You’, which tells a gentle story about falling in and out of love. When Broudie sings the lyrics, “Love is just a lonely feeling” you can hear tinges of heartbreak and scars, covering a soul that has been through the ringer. By contrast, the musical side of this track is irresistably catchy, it will draw you in and with some stellar backing vocals from Martyn Campbell and Adele Emmas. It’s as solid an opening tune as you can get.

‘Emily Smiles’ is a song co-written with legendary Specials frontman, Terry Hall, and is an absolute classic; an upbeat indie pop masterpiece that’s a must for any playlist. The song is about how much we can take life for granted by telling us about momentary snapshots in time, miscommunications, and how small or random events can change lives forever.

lightning seeds see you in the stars album review broudie

“Pure joy”

A personal favourites is ‘Green Eyes’, placing Broudie head and shoulders above so many of his younger contemporaries. With poetic magnificence, and throwing in quirky snippets of ‘Pure’, it’s their most instantly lovable tune to date. Lyrically it is contemplative, and almost a personal quest for emotional balance from a love you can’t let go of.

Another collaboration, this time with The Coral’s James Skelly is ‘Great to Be Alive’, a swaggering but familiar sound, pulling you up by the arm and slapping a smile on your face. It’s another anthem you cannot help falling in love with. It leads straight into another, with ‘Sunshine’, a simplistically alluring synthy strung ditty, which is just pure joy. You will be swept away with the string arrangements and popping beats in the background, bursting like bubbles, adding a childlike magical whimsy to the whole piece.

There is a very poignant moment on this album with ‘Fit For Purpose’. A melody-filled, resplendently-stringed ballad, masking unimaginable grief from the loss of his own brother to suicide. The lyrics are considerate and reflective, delivered with Broudie’s usual honesty and attentive musings.

‘Live To Love You’ sees James Skelly stepping in again with writing credits, and is a pleasant shoegazer of a tune. However, this is followed, in direct contrast, with a hypnotic drum machine beat leading you into another Lightning Seeds classic, ‘Permanent Danger’. This has some emotionally charged vocals, as Broudie pleads: ‘My heart’s in trouble… tell me something good.’ and it’s another one of those songs where the delicious indie vibes lead you in one direction, but the brutal lyrics define another path, all interwoven yet contrasting. The layers building this story are exceptional and honest, showing a wonderful vulnerability.

“Raw emotion”

lightning seeds see you in the stars album review cover‘Walk Another Mile’, the penultimate track, is itoxicating from the first note. A real driving tune, filled with everything you would expect from the maestro of indie pop, with some great swirling vocal effects, telling the tale of a couple trading barbs during a disagreement, which is relatable and somewhat amusing to listen to through another person’s perspective. As Broudie explained: “This was two imaginary people, in my head, arguing about the end of a relationship and blaming each other.” It’s an earworm waiting to happen.

The last track on the album is another song which reaches into the depth of your soul, and was written for a friend of Ian’s who passed away. This friend was clearly a true rock to Ian, helping him in his very darkest hours. The lyrics are set against a simple melody, with some light acoustic jingles and are devastatingly beautiful. This tune is far from mournful though, and carries with it a trademark upbeat and positive message to others who may be struggling: “You need a friend to say, get on board, this world’s a big balloon/Good times may define us, bad days will always find us, stay strong, move on, believe in love when things go wrong”.

When Ian sings this last track, you can clearly hear his voice under strain, almost cracking with raw emotion. Leaving a lovely message to his friend before signing off, he sings: “Angels smile and laugh along with you, cos I hope they do”.

See You In The Stars is sheer delight from start to finish, and the extended wait to hear from The Lightning Seeds has been worth it. Long may they run.


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