Brighten – Be Human EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: March 23, 2010
With a few gruesome exceptions, goals should be celebrated and encouraged. (Can you think of some gruesome examples? Post them in the replies!) Not everyone wants to discover gold on Jupiter or bottle farts. And in music, it’s not always about reversing keyboard polarity in the hopes of creating unheard notes. Brighten’s goals are less experimental, but no less lofty. On Be Human, the trio create music I literally heard yesterday and last week; soft pop-rock that has amped-up emotion and silky vocals. Think Brightwood or Mae or whoever else. And with so much space for comparison, it can be easy to pass over these guys for the band they remind us of. And that’s where Brighten succeed: they only remind me of other bands in that I wish those other bands were this good.
Be Human is an album that lilts. “Where We Belong” ambles along with keyboard tinkering and shuffling drums, while “While The Fire Was Out” is a charming alt-country duet. There’s no particular rush to do anything except deliver softly resonant lines like, “I will listen to the shadowlands and brace what’s coming true.” Even when the electric guitars take over and speed things up, like on endlessly catchy “That Girl,” we are never pushed towards a point but rather urged on with sunny melodies that reek of optimism. Given the choice, who wouldn’t head that direction?
However, most of Be Human showcases Brighten’s breadbasket of lullaby-esque love songs. “I Lost Her” is stripped down so we can focus on the tale of woe. “Be Human” has a lively percussion section but could easily be performed from a park bench. Again and again these guys take next to nothing and make music that lasts; Brighten are the equivalent of a Green band. It’s really quite extraordinary to hear something so basic that is also so endearing. By not giving us much, they have given us everything we need.
Recommended If You Like: Brightwood, Mae, stuff like that
I don't love this EP as much as I wanted to. Brighten is one of my favorite bands and Early Love and King Vs. Queen still get a lot of spins from me. With Be Human absolutely love about half of it and the other songs are just okay. Maybe a few more listens to those songs will change my mind.