Standing Under Bright Lights (Live from Festival International De Jazz De Montréal)

Jun 23, 2021
Web Exclusive

By Haydon Spenceley


Alex Henry Foster, the fascinating frontman of Your Favourite Enemies, burst onto the international scene with his solo debut Windows in the Sky just over a year ago. Rarely does a sound so singular, so spectacularly fully formed and realized, emerge on a debut but it did with the release of that fine album. An amalgam of alternative and post-rock, a mix of cacophony and delicate beauty, a dash of spoken word angst mixed in with the keening anguish of a searching soul, it is a stunning album.

Here, Foster, with a large ensemble, including many members of Your Favourite Enemies, present a spell-binding live rendition of the album’s cinematic vision, recorded at the 2019 Montreux International Jazz Festival. And what a document it is.

Beginning with non-album track “The Son of Hannah,” the scene is set early as the atmosphere undulates in a deeply emotional fashion. There are guitars and guitars and guitars, but also strings aplenty and much more besides. Elsewhere “Winter Is Coming In,” “Snowflakes in July,” and “The Hunter” are as thunderous and keening with barely controlled tension as they are on the studio record, but something in the live format truly brings them fully alive.

Standing Under Bright Lights is presented in a smorgasbord of formats, including a live concert film that is beautiful in its own right. If you’ve never encountered Alex Henry Foster in any of his musical guises, this album is the place to begin. (www.alexhenryfoster.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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