Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

NICO VEGA

Lead to Light

2014-09-11

Keywords: Fun, feminine, fervent

Los Angeles alt-rock trio Nico Vega venture into pop-rock territory with their second album Lead to Light, released this summer. Lead singer Aja Volkman's voice carries intensity and attitude throughout twelve pulsing tracks. Volkman's voice is often juxtaposed against a background chorus, the overdub making several tracks feel like they have the capacity to be zeitgeist anthems for the agitated. The lyrics are crisp and articulate, balanced with escalating tempos and cascading beats. 

The album is all over the place when it comes to textures, harmonies, and tone. Listeners that appreciate big sounds and soulful rock the likes of well-known Florence and the Machine will be drawn to the opening track, "No Home" followed by track 2, "Dance". The songs on the front half of the album are frenetic, with nearly every line in the choruses sounding like they could be followed by several exclamation marks. The last four tracks of the album are smoother, more melodic, and decidedly more pop-soul. The title track is slow and fervent, synthpop featuring a great hook. This album will appeal to listeners who are looking to feel a rock album rather than listen to one. 

Fun fact: Nico Vega got a helping hand from Volkman's husband, who happens to be the frontman for Billboard record-setters Imagine Dragons. Dan Reynolds co-produced "Lead to Light," along with Tony Hoffer (Beck, Fitz and the Tantrums, M83) and Tim Edgar.

There are a lot of beautiful and familiar sounds on Lead to Light. If you are a fan of the following artists, try these song recommendations: 

Florence and the Machine: Try"No Home" (1) , "Dance" (2)

Grace Slick singing "White Rabbit": Try "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot me Down)" (6)

MGMT-style psychedelic rock/dance: Try "I'm On Fire" (8)

Rachael Yamagata (or maybe even Gwen Stefani) :Try "Lightening" (9)

Cat Power: Try "Good" (10)

Reviewed by: Kendall Gilbert

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.