French band Redlight (who, perhaps unfortunately, share a name with a DJ from Bristol), was formed in 2007 by Londres, Dapé and Guy. According to their Bandcamp biography, they aim to develop, “a great and fresh mix of Electro-Rock-Hip Hop-Blues”. They have released six albums, including Jukebox Vol.1, and each one is completely different to the next, almost to the point where they are unrecognisable as belonging to the same band. Their 6th album was released on June 21st this year, and is available to buy from their Bandcamp for only €3 – which isn’t bad, and probably reflective of the band’s smaller scale position in the music industry, for now anyway.
Song numero uno, Broken Down opens the album with a slight edgy, country music feel. The vocals have a definite early 00’s alt-rock vibe, plain and uninteresting, but the drums are strong and guitar riffs are cool, almost bluesy. The lyrics are repetitive and there’s not a whole lot to them. The bridge adds sort of creepy females vocals that feel out of place. The song is just under three minutes, and nothing very musically exciting happens. The intro also seems to be, shall we say, ‘appropriated’ from Led Zeppelin’s ‘When the Levee Breaks’, with a minor change in the kick drum pattern. And although Zeppelin came from a time and a genre (blues) where musical appropriation was much more widely accepted, it’s become a faux-pas in modern rock, and not a great way to open your album. The song is fine, but won’t stick in your head. Dirty has a little more promise, with a background whistling effect and more interesting lyrics. The drums, bass and guitar stay relatively similar, but maintain a steady rhythm. Vocals are still gruff and raw, but in a polished way. I would say that the vocalist sings with little heart or passion, but having listened to the older albums, I know that’s not true. The song ends with a chorus of singers/echoes, giving the song a slight edge to be remembered.
Track number three, I Get It, has quite a poppy, slightly electronica feel to it. The bass line stands out here, and really makes the song. The lyrics, again, are more interesting, and tell a story this time. The chorus sees the addition of electronic effects, subtle, but they add some fun to the album. Dear Mama closes the album with similar drum beats, and guitar. Vocals are gruff and emotionless once again, and the song doesn’t do anything new to the previous three. The chorus of this song is probably the most creative part of the whole album, with harmonic background vocals that finally add some depth and complexity to the lyrics, that are actually well written, but for the most part delivered half-heartedly.
The E.P is not awful, but it’s not great! With music that isn’t complex and vocals that push no boundaries, it’s an album that has been done by many bands many times. Nothing really stands out to make the band memorable, or different from all the other bands trying to break into music. Jukebox Vol.1 on it’s own does nothing for the band, but taken into account with the band’s backlog, it seems like a little slip up in a body of actually quite good work, especially Astronauts.
Replacement of a band member may explain the change in musical direction, but we’re not sure – all their info is au francais! Either way, this album is something you play in the background to stop an awkward silence, not an album you bring to a desert island. It will be interesting to see what the band brings out next, hopefully it will be more in tune with what they worked out pre-2015.