A balance between visceral angst and refined professionalism
Time To Kill, Body of Light’s sophomore record, offers their most polished rendition of dark, synth-pop yet. With drum loops and punchy baselines reminiscent of No Doubt, Time To Kill is a contemporary offering filled with ‘80s-inspired synths and ‘90s grungy energy and angst.
The title track, “Time To Kill,” includes all of the songwriting and production elements that remain consistent throughout the record and proves to be representative of Body of Light’s clean, new sound. Body of Light, formed by the two siblings Andrew and Alexander Jarson, has moved away from the more experimental themes heard on their debut record, Let Me Go, and into a more commercially approachable era on this album. Instead of leaning on heavily layered production techniques, the duo’s style this time around sounds far more intentional as the choruses are more distinguishable and primary melodies more striking.
Aside from slight delay and reverb heard on Jarson’s lead vocals, his voice isn’t heavily affected by plug-ins and extraneous sounds. It demands to be the focal point for every song. This proves to be both beneficial and detrimental to Body of Light’s sound. On a song like “Stormy,” Jarson’s vocals sound impassioned and are perfectly mixed with the moody production but on another like “Fever Freak,” the vocals fall flat against stark production and sound corny with the excessive amount reverberant noise.
The organic, free-form structure and progression of Body of Light’s debut record are forfeited in their latest release for both good and bad as well. While the individual tracks on Time To Kill are distinctively more memorable, the new sound falls into a pattern of predictability. The song structures are unwavering until the final track, “Under the Dome,” which contains a refreshing sense of tranquility and introspection, not centered around the punchy baselines and pounding percussion in every other cut.
The Jarson brothers’ sound has clearly evolved during the three-year gap separating their two records and this release contains a certain maturity not heard on their previous work. The songs are meticulously polished but still retain the edgy sound that has helped define Body of Light since their first release in 2013. Balancing the line between commercially viable pop and raw, angsty energy is difficult, but Body of Light has successfully done this in Time To Kill. Hopefully, the duo will find another balance between their previously organic sound and their new, refined energy for their next release.