Illusion Hills Cycle Through Growth and Change With New EP, ‘come outside when the lights dim’ [EP Review]

Olive Soki

With about one thousand songs coming out every hour across all streaming platforms, musical red-herrings aren’t completely unheard of. This saturation makes it difficult for not only deserving artists to break through the noise, but also music lovers to find their perfect match. While their name loosely alludes to the phenomenon, over the last few months, Illusion Hills has proven that their talent is anything but a mirage. Single after single, they’ve smoothly prompted listeners to push their apprehensions to the side and give into their vision. Setting the record straight once and for all, they’ve offered up their sophomore EP titled come outside when the lights dim.

From the opening line to the last second of the record, there is this unmistakable element of purpose interwoven between each track. Nothing just happened to be placed the way it is. Instead, there are steps, drawbacks and reflections spread out throughout the EP, and, as most things do, it all starts from one point of origin, “genesis.” Released as the first single of the cycle and positioned accordingly as the opening track, “genesis” serves as a perfect synopsis of the project. A snapshot of what you will soon realize is really an emotional regenesis, the track crescendos from a quiet reckoning to an explosive re-birth, only to decrescendos near the end into a broken spirited lullaby.

While they’ve showcased their infectious energy through past releases, come outside when the lights dim features a well balanced mix of tender and fervent bits. Simplistic tracks like “farewell” and “eternal" allow them to open up earnestly, without any flashy distractions, and meet their listeners on even ground.

Speaking on the EP, salad shares, “the project is about growth, and not in an elementary way, but about what it means to genuinely become a person.” This becoming includes not only healing and dealing with the discomforts of change — which are both outlined in their respective interludes — but also the aftermath of said growth. The intergalactic and speedy “rebound” embodies the empowerment of healing from your wounds and taking control of your life, while “chasm” deals with the positive and necessary aspects of change.

Closing up the EP in a “what comes up must come down” kind of way, “flare” gives us a chance to come down in a meditative fashion. Leaving us with a few words of wisdom, they send us on our way to start the cycle all over again — only this time with a new sense of clarity and peace.

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