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Bright, "Bells Break Their Towers"

Like label-mates Landing, Bright dish out melodic tracks rooted in '70s prog rock, but with a distinctively modern feel and looks ahead as much as it looks to the past. With its heavy repetition and psychedelic feel, it's also an eight-song spiritual journey.

Strange Attractors

"Manifest Harmony" in particular feels like a ritualistic incantation with circling and heavily patterned music and vocals. It's easy to imagine vocalist Mark Dwinell performing shamanic rites in the empty desert landscape shown in the album's artwork. Throughout the album Dwinell's almost-chanted lyrics are invocations atop the layers of chunky guitars. Many tracks sound like an arcane ceremony overheard through an open window. But the music isn't at all quiet and hymnal; this ain't Enya. The electric guitars continually make themselves known and they open "It's What I Need" with a snarl.

The album is laced with a distinct Eastern influence, though there aren't any actual sitars, the guitars effectively mimic their delicate sound. Ringing chimes in "Flood" reinforce the east-meets-west feeling.

The album feels so methodic and deliberate, that I was surprised to learn that Bright generally improvise in the studio. But that also adds to the overall spiritual feeling...instead of improvising, it feels more like Bright was channeling.

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Harris Newman and Esmerine

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Review of the Day

Sugarman Three, "Pure Cane Sugar"
Daptone
Raw honesty and incredible musicianship happens to make this white boy wanna shake his ass. Guitars, horns, organ, and the most groovtastic drums I've heard in a long time work together to drop one giant bomb of grimy funk. Sure, I've heard this sort of thing before and lets face it: this is the same kind of funk made during funk's heyday and it's a hard formula to change without totally spoiling that thing that makes funk so great. But Sugarman Three pull it off perfectly. Wah-wah pedals plaster the walls, organs jive and moan and dear me do they wail, and then there's drumming. I can't say enough about the team of Rudy Albin and Ernesto Abreu. Throughout the album they effortlessly create rhythms that pulse, flow, and force me to sway, tap my foot, or even get up out of my chair and dance the best I possibly can. Even the rather down-tempo "Modern Jive" has a groove to it that simply cannot be refused. "Funky So-and-So" is the veritable big-bang that starts this bad-boy off on the good foot and paves the way for the bad thing. Contained herein is a percussion breakdown made of pure sweet sugar, just as the title implies. "Shot Down" puts some serious tension in my stomach and gets my blood flowing, most of the time I want to scream right along with Lee Fields and it's hard to contain the excitement. (I feel bad for people that have to ride in my car with me when I listen to this.) The tension is real and the funk is hot. This is a lightning-fast record at just over fourty-one minutes long and I think I've had it on repeat for about ten plays now. Excuse me, but after listening to this I have the urge to go out and find myself a lady-friend to get down with, I'm feelin' a bit frisky.

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