Dakú Lights: “Illuminate” – a conceptually cohesive and musically sophisticated EP

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London based alternative pop band, Dakú Lights, was formed in April 2016 by the three band members who are represented by their own distinct color to match their personality, with Bhavini being red, Haiiiro as pink-orange and Panda as purple. They have a unique blend of music which incorporates Pop, Kpop, EDM and Urban influences. Currently pursuing a record deal, the band is focused on producing high quality music and building their stage presence for international audiences. Dakú Lights recently released their 5-track EP, entitled “Illuminate”. The title takes a cue from the band’s name, as Dakú means ‘dark’ in Japanese, and is themed around the intriguing combination of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ sounds.

Sometimes it’s okay – even important – to put aside your reluctance to embrace artists who are able to make teenagers scream. It happened when Justin Timberlake scraped the sludge off pop and left something shiny behind, and it happened again with Maroon 5 in what is essentially the most distinctive pop sound to emerge from a single band since the Bee Gees squealed into the mid-’70s. Dakú Lights is another young band made up of two guys and a girl, who promises to defy would-be detractors and go on to greatness, elevating the credibility of crossover pop for years to come.

The songs on “Illuminate” pivot sharply between verse, pre-chorus, and chorus in such a way as to hold the listener’s attention throughout, not always an easy feat in an era when the “shuffle” command is just a finger-swipe away. The songs harness RnB’s breezy vocal acrobatics, Pop’s ear-worming melodies and EDM’s danceability, and anchoring those three elements with K-pop’s fashionable and colorful audiovisual fusion that builds and relieves pressure as the song structures switch gears.

Right from the powerful opening track, “Over”, the EP delivers a consistent palette of genre-melding pop offerings and affable fist-pumping anthems, on the whole surpassing the flaccid amount of records on your local Top40 radio chart. This track is everything radio searches for in a lead single, it’s boppy and its melody is memorable, Dakú Lights’ hooks tend to be supremely addictive and it’s no exception with this track.

Leaving scrappier clichéd pop behind for the sunny horizons of chart-friendly but innovative music blends, was surely a wise move for Dakú Lights to set itself apart from the crowd. Reaching for ubiquity on the singles chart often means sacrificing any hope of making a conceptually cohesive and musically sophisticated album. Not in the case of these exceptional singers who pour their hearts into these songs and the result is something extraordinary.

But Dakú Lights don’t just sing great melodies and harmonies; they write some really cool music too, which is the case with the mid-tempo ballad “Set Me Free” – both intensely seductive and smooth on the ear – the track has a melancholy, yet uplifting feel, and is garnered with heartfelt lyrics. This is one of my favorite songs on the EP.

Listening to “Run Away” and “Say No More” only serves to confirm the fact, that in my book, Dakú Lights are, simply, the freshest pop act around today. Incredibly accessible, with both a pronounced dark and light edge, they mix real alternative ethos with moments so catchy, you can’t help but hum along and nod your head. Dakú Lights are just starting out so they’re here to stay for a while, and will have no problem dominating the airwaves and filling your playlists.

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