Bright Calm Blue

Direct Approach for Casual Conversation

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The second album by Bright Calm Blue finds the group dealing with the loss of lead singer and keyboardist Ian Whitmore by completely reorganizing its sound for the better. Rather than replacing Whitmore, bassist Austin Skiles, drummer Javid Dabestani, and guitarists Dustin Wilbourn and Michael Bredehoft have simply divided his responsibilities between themselves, with Bredehoft adding keyboards to his guitar duties and all four pitching in on the vocals. The leaner instrumental approach suits the band; the songs sound starker and more stripped-down, sacrificing none of its previous aggression while finding room to expand into Fugazi-like prog-punk territory. None of the bandmembers are as distinctive vocally as Whitmore had been; as a rule, they remind one of why this type of post-hardcore has been nicknamed "screamo." But on the best tracks, like the alternately pummeling and soaring "Swallow Feathers Whole," Bright Calm Blue create some of the most exciting and forward-looking emo around.

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