Review Summary: astrophotography
Space is still the place, indeed. In fact it’s the only
place -- a vast emptiness perpetually subsisting around our world, conjuring up rocks and balls of energy when it sees fit. If space could talk, I’m sure it’d stay silent.
If the universe could talk, I’m sure it wouldn’t even blink an eye at us. If the universe could make music, I’m sure it wouldn’t sound anything like this, but for the sake of humanity let’s pretend.
If the Earth could speak, I’m sure it would sigh. If the Earth could speak, I’m sure it wo-
But really, there’s no need to get so esoteric and metaphysical, as The Bright Light Social Hour aren’t anything more than a folk-tinged psychedelic rock band. Nothing groundbreaking (or should I say, universe-shattering) will be found on Space is Still the Place
, as the album is merely an exploration into 80s trance pop and late 60s psychedelia. Yet, its familiarity is its most enthralling characteristic; a flattering mixture of genres and, yes, a slightly unique one at that. Throw on top of it all a fascination with mind-altering drugs -- how mindsets thusly change -- and the grandeur of space, and you have quite an adventure to say the least.
For an album so fascinated with space, it’s interesting to experience and unravel the unique landscapes constructed on this album. Opener ‘Sweet Madeline’ sees the band venturing into vast plains which are defined by the sweeping synths and a consistently rolling bassline. Appropriately titled ‘Sea of the Edge’ is just that, a track bubbling with life that is drenched with echoing reverb and a melody that just seems to wash over you. The band’s musicianship may be a bit simplistic and repetitive, but their production skills flourish on this album, helping them create an ever-changing vista that never gets old no matter how much you gaze at it. It’s just so clean
sounding, even with the psychedelic influences muddying up the album. Highlight and closer ‘Escape Velocity’ comfortably manipulates a melody for 5 minutes before turning it into an explosive yet subdued psych rock jam. It is an escape from Earth, a venture past the wispy boundaries of our atmosphere and into the unknown, even if it is merely a fantasy for the group.
The Bright Light Social Hour understand the importance of space -- not just on a cosmic scale; they also explore the idea of space within music, as well: breathing room. ‘The Moon’ is just this, an acid-inspired gap in consciousness, some time to cool down. They prove on the americana-esque ‘Ghost Dance’ and ‘Ouroboros’ that they can also detonate, filling the space with cozy melodies and vigorous drumming. Yet an album without any space only inhibits the potency of its peaks. Space has always been a place and it only took a couple of acid heads and their instruments to realize that space is right here on Earth.
If space could talk, I’m sure this record would be its proxy.