Paul Maged is very open when it comes to his influences — a broad spectrum of artists that includes Muse, Billy Joel, and Mumford & Sons — and the diversity is reflected in his multi-faceted and genre-explorative music. Though there is no shortage of pop-punk rapid-fire vocals, the tone of the songs on Light Years Away have the ability to shift from satirical and upbeat to heavy and haunting.
Light Years Away kicks off with a song that is as satirical as its name suggests. “PC Police” has driving guitar lines and a strong sense of melody that carries forward into tracks like “Moment of Strength” and “Half Moon”. “Moment of Strength” uses this doubly, with the two-hitter hooks on both the verses and the chorus (a triple hit if you count the haunting melody that comes with the words “Nothing changes at all”; repeated as a reprise on the final track). “Ashley Jane” is a stark shift to folk-pop that retains those fast-paced lyrics. There is no doubt Maged is an artist with a lot to say.
In a powerful tribute to Chris Cornell, Paul Maged takes on Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” and gives it a delicate touch, opening with a piano line and moving carefully throughout. Maged pulls well from his influences, but shines when he creates something huge and uniquely emotional. “Half Moon” is the highlight of the album and uses perfect timing to grow something from acoustically haunting to a full-on alt-rock track bound to stir up emotions.
From comedy to mournful tribute, Light Years Away has a little bit of everything that, like most great contemporary art, pulls from a little bit of everywhere.