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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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Do Make Say Think, "You, You're a History In Rust"
If Toronto's Do Make Say Think haven't changed much in the decade or so they've been on the scene, it's because they haven't needed to.  Their mastery of their basic aesthetic elements—from their natural, textured guitar sound, to their melancholy passages, huge crescendos, album-long symmetry and even their earthy packaging—works so well that they need little evolution.  It's as if they found the perfect moment and haven't left it in ten years.
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