BrightBlack Morning Light

Brightblack Morning Light

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Perhaps the glasses that accompany BrightBlack Morning Light's self-titled album say enough about the record itself. They're of thin paper, with a rainbow, three marijuana plants, and the phrase "resisting Babylon system one rainbow at a time" drawn on the face. To aid in achieving this stated goal, putting on the glasses blurs the wearer's vision and not only makes rainbows appear but all capitalist yearning for mindless consumption vanish. Ostensibly, wearing these glasses while listening to BrightBlack Morning Light's music will transport listeners to places in which nature takes priority, where things are peaceful, where hours can be spent by the river watching the flow of the water and contemplating the simplicities of life. Whether all of this actually happens, however, is fairly debatable. Not that the efforts by founding bandmembers Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater and Rachael "Rabob" Hughes aren't sincere (they live in tents during the warmer months of the year and a communal cabin when it's colder), but their apparent desire to break out of stereotypes is so strong that it almost seems contrived. Why the glasses? Shouldn't the music itself be sufficient? But perhaps all of this superfluity must happen because the band realizes that the actual record just isn't quite strong enough to bring its listeners to any kind of higher plane of understanding. It's not bad, it's just not as profound as Shineywater and Hughes would like everyone to believe it is. It's slow, languid music, music that wants to be sung by the Spanish moss that hangs in the duo's home state of Alabama, but stays stuck in the swamps instead. It's all very nice; it just doesn't ever do anything, say anything, mean anything. The Fender Rhodes starts a simple groove, the guitar joins in, the hi-hat begins tapping out triplets, and then Shineywater's nearly unintelligible vocals pour in, echoing against Hughes' own voice and the bass, but it goes nowhere, does nothing. The lyrics meander around abstract ideas of oneness with nature that aren't particularly profound ("With silver cloud came a rainfall, with rain made a river come all for you"), the instruments continue repeating the same phrases, and everything is poignant in that way that a prism refracting sunlight around a room is: not very, but pretty nonetheless. BrightBlack Morning Light may have been able to successfully extricate themselves from the grips of urban existence, but it's doubtful that their music will do the same for anyone else.

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