Fans of Ambien, of lazing on wraparound porches during Saturday afternoons, and of those hazy, low-key bits in Spiritualized songs where Jason Pierce possibly while slumped in a corner whisper-mumbles about Jesus and broken hearts will find love in the sepia-toned somnolence of this self-titled offering from California-via-Kentucky quintet Brightblack Morning Light. Frontman Nathan Shineywater has Pierce's narcotizing drawl and reverbed molasses guitar down pat, and he, along with singer-keyboardist Rachael Hughes whose gossamer voice could lull babies to sleep, and whose Rhodes-playing certainly won't wake them and a heavy-lidded rhythm section, has crafted an appealingly mellow country-gospel-shoegaze tumble. If you aren't napping by the time "Star Blanket River Child" rolls around, you'll hear the band stave off boredom by adding some soulful, lurking horns to the underwater slide guitar groove that nudges the song past the 10-minute mark. The Polynesian sway of "All We Have Broken Shines" alters the album's heady breeze slightly, as do the gorgeous vocal harmonies in "A River Could Be Loved" and "Amber Canyon Magik." But then there's the disquieting psych-strumental closer "We Share Our Blanket With the Owl," and you understand again how much Brightblack Morning Light associates beauty with darkness and disorientation.
Michael Alan Goldberg writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].