Album Review

Brightblack Morning Light, self-titled (Matador)

Earth muffins, lamb-skinners and jazz cloverists finally have something they can all agree on with the new one from Brightblack Morning Light. This band of gypsies—named after the time of day right before the sun rises—has put together a special collection of earthly good times sounding a bit like My Bloody Valentine meets Southern gospel. And so Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater and Rachel "Rabob" Hughes have sidestepped the freak-folk tag so popular with the leather-headband set. Instead, there is a darker vibe here—not exactly negative, but more like being high in church, if you know what I mean. Jazz flute and yakety sax intertwine on jams that never really lose the listener, and the dynamic doesn't change much either, though the volume and the intensity tractor beam you in. The band puts the lime in the coconut on the third track, "Fry Bread," which sounds like a reggae mash-up of the record's first two songs. But highest of all is the 10-minute journey of "Star Blanket River Child," in which Brightblack and their songwriting ability both peak. Much has been said of Rabob and Nabob's nomadic country life, and song titles like "We Share Our Blanket With the Owl" do nothing to dispel the rumors. But with just one month left of the real hot stuff, it's time to break out the tents for backyard living. Medical doobies passed around can help you pass the time till the Brightblack Morning Light.

 
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