popmontreal-lightburn-posterPOP Montreal continues! With over 600 acts and events filling this week, it’s hard to narrow down just one thing to describe, but last night Murray A. Lightburn gave us a big enough show to close the book on the subject. Thanks, Murray!

MASS:LIGHT (“Mass to Light”, as in the ratio, explicated in the song of that name) is Lightburn’s bastard-pop brainchild. Lightburn is best known as frontman of local indie-rock darlings The Dears. MASS:LIGHT proper was prefigured as an instrumental EP released as a Dears bonus back in July, with the full-length lyrical pop epic dropping a month later, to wide acclaim. MASS:LIGHT is a smart, spacey synth-trip written and produced by Lightburn himself, mixed by Aaron Popovich. The self-titled debut was released back in August, so Lightburn’s fans have had plenty of time to absorb the latest twist in his story before last night’s show.

“I didn’t have the money to make a Broadway musical, so I made this,” he explained to the raucous crowd at the Ukranian Federation, and proceeded to embark on a bizarrely wonderful indie-dance-soul-pop odyssey. Lightburn’s vocals were in top form at the front of the mix, with the pulsing electronics and reverb of his synth lines more than compensating for the absence of his Dears guitar setup.

murraylightburnDespite dropping the rock trappings for which Lightburn is best-known, MASS:LIGHT sounds like a man at his most artistically free and exuberant. It’s hard — perhaps pointless — to describe the sound, but we can at least try: imagine the sci-fi soul-opera of Janelle Monae fused with the sultry synthpop of Diamond Rings and you might have some idea (or, at the every least, we’ve piqued your interest). It’s one of the most interesting pop projects to emerge from a wildly creative local scene. While MASS:LIGHT does share commonalities with The Dears’ dark, soulful songwriting, it’s definitely no mere spin-off.

We’re still looking for some pics of this great event, so if you’ve got some to check out, comment below! If not, check out the whole album online, courtesy of Exclaim!

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