Not often does an artist perfectly describe their own album. Many times, I find they tout an album incorrectly trying to drain as much energy from their copy as possible even if it is completely incorrect. On Adrina Thorpe’s website for her sophomore release “Halflight & Shadows,” the copy states that [the album] “illuminates the eternal struggle of light against the darkness and the yearning that each of us faces everyday, the quest for a beautiful life.” I could end this review here but the album deserves more.
Adrina has a beautiful voice. The album centered on her talented piano play and great pipes also features a plethora of backup which adds a lot of the “struggle” between “light” (her airy voice and arias) and “dark” (rich piano parts). I was impressed at the albums blend between simple, easy to follow melodic set pieces and ornate, almost chaotic electronic backdrops. While never distracting, there are songs like “Walk” and “Domino” that infuse a heavy amount of electric guitar. They fall into the songs “Moment to End” and “Driving” respectively that are much softer and more reflective.
By walking the line so gracefully, the listener is able to truly understand the battle of life that includes those sunny, delicate moments where everything is working out perfectly and times where pressures and complications can almost destroy one’s self image. For Adrina, this battle is also one of faith and how it fits into life. She isn’t shy about that either as some of her liner notes include Bible verses. Her use of imagery peaks the listener’s interest to wonder from where her inspiration was derived. Knowing this, she provides the context so that the listener can gain a greater understanding of where she was when crafting the song.
If an album gives you only one good song, it is not a good album. In the case of Halflight & Shadows, the album is so strong that it provides four to five “repeat” songs. For me, the champion “repeat” song from this album is “Coming Home.” I can listen to it over and over. It is a song of return yet repentance. Home is clearly defined as a familiar place yet when beckoned there, the character is aware that they are returning changed, filtered by life and its obstacles. While returning to comfort, the song is more a cry to return to forgiveness and reconciliation – something much harder to gain as it implies that both the “resident” and “returner” must become equal and affected by the other.
Carrying this thought of “home” further, Adrina’s website includes a link to World Vision, a non-profit, non-government Christian organization that is “dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” This album is a reflection of her life and her missions. From the depth of Adrina’s soul and heart she produced this album as an outpour of compassion and the effort it takes to live beyond ourselves, in the grey, as “life” includes many more individuals and is never easy to define.
What a great way to celebrate the joy of the unexpected and participate in the unknown through music that infuses both joy and sorrow with moving instrumentation and the angelic voice of Adrina Thorpe.