It?s tempting to dismiss The Christmas Lights! as just another electronic indie pop group whose sound draws parallels to contemporaries like The Postal Service and countless others. However, this one-man project of Maryland-based Kenny Tompkins stands out considerably amongst his peers with ?Walk Like A Human?, an album filled with infectious beat-laden songs and vocal melodies that burrow deep in your cerebrum.
Tompkins constructs most of these pop miniatures around oddly metered dance beats, at times adding liberal doses of distortion and crunch to the mix as on ?The Water is Gone, The Fire Has Come!? and ?Interrogation Song?. In other places, such as ?Made Young? and ?Walk Like A Human?, Tompkins creates an airier atmosphere that provides ample space for his plaintive multi-tracked vocals to carry the song. There are moments midway through the album where a nice balance between these approaches is struck, like on ?Atlas? and ?Begging For A Fire?, which sees Tompkins reaching towards the melancholic grandeur of prime Depeche Mode.
Perhaps if Tompkins was based in Baltimore, rather than Frostburg, this album would be receiving more attention. But based on the strength of these songs alone, I could certainly see ?Walk Like A Human? garnering some level of buzz on a larger scale. 8/10 -- David Perron (10 September, 2008)