This sounds pretty close to a promo or a plug for The Bright Light Social Hour. Like they are a distant relative of an estranged uncle and we're trying to get in their good graces so we'll be invited over for Thanksgiving dinner; but let me assure you, this album is every bit as important for dance-funk-soul-rock as Girl Talk's Night Ripper was for bringing mash-ups to the big leagues. Or hell - every bit as timely as when we realized that "Parents just don't understand."
The Bright Light Social Hour's self-titled, debut full-length is a revival and revolution - a stand-out passion pit filled with the full spectrum of sound.
The journey begins with syncopated, digital keys, retrofit for a futuristic train ride into the sunset. Kick in the pounding toms, the deep bass, and an opening guitar solo reminiscent of classic Alabama rock and roll infused with Tron's victory song (the 1982 version). Enter Curtis Roush, "Gotta keep movin', broke down and I'm ruined. Now tell me what are we gonna do? Don't matter brother, keep on steady rollin'. We'll figure out somethin' soon." The opening track, "Shanty", is now full-throttle.
Spanning the album, the dueling lead vocals of guitarist Roush and bassist Jack O'Brien make you wonder if the Black Keys discography has been on repeat in their van for years. Yet the gritty, energized melodies take on a life of their own; acting as much as a driving force as the, many times, sixteenth noted hi-hat rides and power-bass lines.
In a sweep of 2011's 29th Annual Austin Music Awards, during SXSW, The Bright Light Social Hour crammed their trophy mantel with six wins, including Song of the Year - for their psychedelic, swelling ballad, "Detroit" - Band of the Year, and Album of the Year. All well deserved.
"Men of the Earth" - one of three instrumental tracks - feels like a light, forest rainfall in which you are slowly finding your footing, in search of the next ray of sunshine to peak through the canopy and enlighten you. It'll find you, promise. The final notes ring out and emerging from the mist is the intro to the dance-pop tune, "Back and Forth" - the song the Rapture wish they wrote. A reflective bridge brakes up the track, utilizing O'Brien's spanish lyrics to propel the song's final chorus.
The album closes with "Rhubarb Jam" and we're once again bombarded with the past, present and future in one: Yes meets the Mars Volta on a spaceship headed for Jupiter.
Definitely check out The Bright Light Social Hour on their east coast tour through June. But hey, see for yourself below - you won't be disappointed.