AMA #1: The Bright Light Social Hour

The rapid ascendance of The Bright Light Social Hour is spectacular. Just last year, they came in second for Best New Band (to Speak, this year’s overall number 6, and friends of OVRLD) and this year they are on top of the entire music scene. Austin hasn’t seen anything like it since 2004 when Los Lonely Boys skyrocketed to the tops of the Austin Music Awards in multiple categories. In fact, the similarities are striking since, like Los Lonely Boys, The Bright Social Hour can count victories in Album of the Year (for their self-titled debut) and Song of the Year (for “Detroit”), as well as three other categories. They have officially and rapidly arrived as part of the Austin music establishment.

It’s easy to see why when you listen to The Bright Light Social Hour. The album is a tour de force of a variety of styles that TBLSH are able to execute mostly perfectly. They have a pair of Explosions in the Sky-influenced instrumentals in “Men of the Earth” and “Men of the Sea” sandwiching their Franz Ferdinand-y funk-rock hit “Back and Forth.” “Garden of the Gods” sees them in My Morning Jacket-ish jam band territory, while “Rhubarb Jam” is straight up metal, like Muse on steroids without any vocals. “Detroit” has a slow, bluesy feel to it while “Bare Hands Bare Feet” has all the classic rock revivalism of Free Energy but with a lot more uninhibited joy. And my favorite song is “Shanty,” the lead track that kind of showcases all that is about to come.

The Bright Light Social Hour - Shanty

The remarkable thing is that this doesn’t feel like a collection of different bands. There’s a cohesion that seems impossible on paper, but that TBLSH inexplicably manages to maintain for the duration of the record. They are a band that clearly enjoys playing together, and will hopefully (and likely) continue to for many more records. Now if only we could get someone outside of Austin to notice… (guys, it might help if you set up a Wikipedia page…to start…)