Brilliant Colors

Again and Again

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    8
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Brilliant Colors' debut record, Introducing, was a quick and promising affair, the all-girl trio from San Francisco charging through a hooky, noisy batch of indie pop with a punk streak like a Flying Nun/C-86 hybrid. Their follow-up record, Again and Again, delivers the same amount of value as the debut, only it's a little sharper and focused both sonically and in the songwriting department. The drums have a little more punch, the guitars ring a bit clearer, and the vocals are louder in the mix, all helping the songs come across better. Like the debut, there are no songs that jump out as singles right away. Instead, they blend into a pleasant half-hour of insistent rhythms, cloudy reverb, and melancholy melodies in a way that makes it more likely that you’ll be bowled over by the sum of the album rather than the individual parts. The one song that does stand out initially is "Telephone Stories," which cuts the tempo and lets some air and space into the mix. (More of this in the future would be recommended!) Mostly though, the band clatters and hums with barely controlled abandon as Jess Scott's vocals and guitars dominate while Michelle Hill's fluid basslines and drummer Diane Anastasio's nimble use of a small kit provide very sympathetic backing. Scott’s guitar playing is impressive; she strums powerfully and also picks out very hooky melodies. Her vocals, too, are impressive but also quite interesting; she can sing clearly and prettily at times, but usually slurs her words into a smear of sound that weaves through the mix like another instrument. Many of the songs are built around her wordless crooning and this sets them apart from bands that play their pop simple and straight. On Again and Again, Brilliant Colors aren’t doing anything radically different than their contemporaries with similar influences and a similar sound, but they do what they do with conviction and just enough weirdness to give them a leg up on the competition.

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