Amilia K. Spicer – Lightning
The latest single from Amilia K. Spicer’s studio album Wow and Flutter, “Lightning”, is a strong follow up to the earlier single “Fill Me Up” and shows off a more pensive, yearning aspect of her songwriting personality. It is a testament to her skills as a writer and understanding of her personal experience that she can revisit these age old things with a distinctly individual approach that, nonetheless, fully exploits the song’s dramatic potential. “Lightning”, in her hands, never risks self indulgence and becomes a vibrant musical work that happens to be a perfectly tailored vehicle for Spicer’s voice. She inhabits songs in a way that few younger performers today, regardless of genre, are capable of and her phrasing hooks you in from the first. Spicer has surrounded herself with a stellar musical crew who aid her in realizing the potential of “Lightning” and they are clearly experienced hands who know the value of restraint and knowing when not to play. It makes for a winning combination.
There is a lot of color in Spicer’s voice and she exhibits enough command over her vocal instrument that she can seemingly manipulate its sound at will. “Lightning” maintains a fairly even keel throughout and eschews fake sounding crescendos – every lasting effect from this song seems to be organically arrived at and she exerts just the right amount of muscle during those moments. The beauty of her performance extends, as well, to her sharp instincts for singing with the arrangement rather than juxtaposing her voice against what the players are doing. This shapes the song in a much more seamless, unified way and enhances what each element offers to the listener. The lyrical content has much of the same elegance we heard in her voice and provides ample opportunity for Spicer to explore different shadings of emotion.
The arrangement is carried, primarily, by dramatic percussion work and carefully developed clouds of keyboard color. The second half of the song incorporates different instruments, namely discreetly incorporated electric guitar giving the song a much denser quality than before, and it helps orchestrate the track to its most fitting conclusion. The drumming is especially memorable. Its intensity and tempo seems to shift throughout the entirety of the song, but the pulse never loses its consistency and the steadiness it gives to a possibly otherwise nebulous tune cannot be overestimated. Spicer adds a further artful touch in the way the beginning and end of the song observe the time-tested device of a slow fade. It emphasizes the drama like qualities of Spicer’s desire. Singles like “Fill Me Up” and this song will certainly accelerate Amilia K. Spicer’s upward surge into mainstream critical success and garner scores of new fans in the process. When they bemoan the plummeting creativity and diversity of modern music in print and media, they aren’t talking about artists such as this. “Lightning” is, undoubtedly, one of Wow and Flutter’s best songs and places the album in a much deserved spotlight.