Bright Light Social Hour, Swimm | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Bright Light Social Hour

Bright Light Social Hour

Pooneh Ghana

Bright Light Social Hour, Swimm 

When: Fri., Nov. 13, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $15, $12 in advance
The 2010 self-titled debut from Austin’s Bright Light Social Hour is a good but in no way startling southern-rock party record, designed for a few strong tokes while you air out your pits. Their follow-up took five years, during which they unexpectedly got weird. The album title Space Is Still the Place (Frenchkiss) nods to Sun Ra of all people, while a track like “Dreamlove” abandons rawk for booty shaking with Cut Copy-esque spaced-out keyboards. Other tracks are less of a departure. “Slipstream” is gigantic and echoey cosmic blues, badass and goofy in a way that both Jim Morrison and Jimmy Page would appreciate. “Ouroboros” nods to the Doors too, as Jack O’Brien intones, “My brother walks on crushed glass / His fingers beaten like brass” (the lyrics sound especially painful in light of the January suicide of Alex O’Brien, Jack’s brother and the band’s manager). The band have said in interviews that they are creating music for a “Future South,” in which a region often seen as backwards and parochial can instead be viewed as expansive, ambitious, and welcoming. “Cities without limit / Carpeted and endless,” Jack sings in “Infinite Cities,” as the guitar does a twangy hoedown and the dance beat throbs. With Space Is Still the Place a band that seemed to be steering down the middle of the road now unexpectedly have their bare feet deep in the soil and their head in the Milky Way.
— Noah Berlatsky



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