Brightblack Morning Light
Motion To Rejoin
About time, I guess. When you’re born in the South, it just gets harder and harder to wash away all the subtle influences and behaviors and manners, and yeah, probably most importantly, the music. Speaking from experience, I was in a big city once unconsciously nodding at strangers and I didn’t even damn well realize what I was doing until an hour later. Stuff like that and lazy summer afternoon singalongs and church-type harmonizing soaks in through your skin are all second nature, so for Alabama transplants turned West Coast forest dwellers Nathan Shinywater and Rachel Hughes, the verrrrrry gradual (because, let’s face it, everything the unbelievably laconic duo undertake is blissfully at their own pace) encroachment of deep southern blues and gospel into their sound seems less purposeful and more subliminal. It’s a stylistic shift, though that’s too drastic, how about “ramble and meander,” that even the faithful Brightblack listener won’t fully fucking process until halfway through the goddamn album, “Waittaminute…. (eyes roll back into head in bliss).” Galaxie 500 and Royal Trux and Opal’s sonics and minimalism married to a more soulful, familiar sound.
Songs are still delicate as shit, flickering like a purple light, sleepy-eyed and dreamy, every note and every word drenched in otherworldly echo, every delicate chord and sweetly-echoed and reverbed boy-girl vocal coo and ecstatic sigh rendered in hazy half-speed. But this time the honeyed slide of sonics shifts and shimmers with new vibrancy. I’m hearing hints of Creedence’s twang, Staples Singers’ reverent sweetness, gospel higher and higher transcendence in slow motions miniature, roudhouse swing. Horns, sax lilts, harmonica drift through the ether, though so do windchimes and crystals. It’s all more earthy, more located in the hips than the last album. Rachel Hughes’ Rhodes electric piano playing is more front and center than ever, smoldering shades of deep late night red, longing and ache. With Motion To Rejoin, we have a variation on what Jason Pierce and his Spiritualized have been trying to do for nigh on two decades, a righteous hybrid of space rock drone and gospel transcendence.
Matador Records: www.matadorrecords.com