Sometime this summer, in a Chinese restaurant pretty far downtown, we saw Light Asylum. We had no idea a band was going to be playing, we just rolled up to what we thought was a birthday party. But across the other side of the parquet dancefloor was this duo playing in the dark, one man on keys and drum machines, one woman nonchalantly emoting the shit out of herself. How else to put it? Shannon Funchess, who you may know from her occasional vocal duties in !!! and Telepathe, has an enormous, operatic voice. On "Shallow Tears," it's as though she is trying to summon storms, like Light Asylum's true purpose was as rainmakers. Bruno Coviello, manning the backing beat, has a fascination with the druggy, despondent synthesizers of mid-’80s science fiction. Though they're never hulking, there's nothing particularly dainty in either of the duo's approaches, as though they've listened to a lot of Sade and figured out how to take all of her elements into the red. As it is, we heard at least one grown man say they made him cry—fair enough. For another taste of Light Asylum, check their track on the Wierd Records mix from our Freak Scene column.
December 14, 2009