Brightest Darkest Day

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In its mix of decisively poppy hooks and evocative cool, Brightest Darkest Day, the debut album from OK Go's Tim Nordwind and He Say, She Say's Drea Smith, feels like a natural blend of their approaches without sounding like anything they've done before. The sullenly catchy pop of "Everyone Says," for instance, could be roughed up into an OK Go song, but it's more interesting here, with a martial beat and spy movie guitars backing Smith's deceptively sweet vocals. Throughout the album, the duo nods to the new wave and post-punk Nordwind and Smith both love without forcing an '80s feel on their music. That said, there's an undeniably British influence on Pyyramids' moody pop, and on songs such as the haunting, borderline desperate "Don't Go" and the sweeping drama of "Smoke and Mirrors," they recall the Noisettes in their more low-key moments. However, there's more depth to Brightest Darkest Day than that might suggest -- "Paper Doll," for example, evokes '90s grunge-pop and provides a showcase for Smith's vulnerable, versatile singing. She's equally sweet, aching, and strong on songs such as "Invisible Scream," one of several hints during the course of this aptly named album that the duo finds a considerable amount of enjoyment in misery. Fortunately, it's contagious on songs like "That Ain't Right" and "Nothing I Can Say," which is one of the finest examples of Pyyramids' hook-laden pop. While moments like the title track intro and "Time (Interlude)" aren't exactly necessary, Brightest Darkest Day's highlights are so catchy that it's easy to forgive the occasional indulgent moment. Ultimately, this is a strong debut from a band with a sound worth exploring more.

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