The Bright Light Social Hour are one of Austin’s best kept secrets. Since forming in 2004 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, the band have built up a large following, chalking up performances at some of the biggest music festivals in the United States. Their latest album, Space Is Still The Place, is a record full of psychedelic rock with a dash of electronic music, which makes for a pleasing album that only an Austin band could write. You could say the band’s hippie-inspired music brings out Austin’s unique vibe.
Opening with “Sweet Madelene,” the record’s rough first licks feel like something recorded decades ago and only recently discovered. If the sounds of The Grateful Dead or Phish are to your liking, Bright Light’s deft guitars and addictive rhythms will tune right into your heart. For fans of hippie rock, Space is already one of the highlights of 2015.
“Ghost Dance” follows; a funky track that, up until this point in the album, you would never expect from a band like Bright Light. The loud and booming “la, la, la, da, da’s” on this track are dangerously addicting, drummer Joseph Mirasole’s thumping beat combine to pound out what feels very much like an anthem.
not to mention that the band would fit right in playing at a festival like Woodstock.
“Infinite Cities” is another track that pushes the band’s sounds into some strange place beyond their psychedelic roots. Showing their electronic influences, guitarists Edward Braillif and Curtis Roush put a wispy feel on the track that floats right along with Mirasol’s danceable beat. It’s a song that might actually be enhanced by strobe lights, if that makes sense. If you could not tell by now, this band would look and sound right at home playing a 1970’s festival like Woodstock.
Finally we arrive at “Escape Velocity,” a track that lasts over eight minutes. While “Infinite Cities” started to explore the band’s electronic influences, “Escape” really dives into synthesizers and computerized beats head on. It brings Bright Light’s techno edge to the forefront and makes for an unusual twist at the end of a very creative album.
While The Bright Light Social Hour have built up a following since they first came onto the scene over a decade ago, Space Is Still The Place is a great introduction if you are not familiar. It’s obvious that this band is passionate about their music, and that makes it easy for anyone to jump on the train and lose yourself in the music.
Here is a selection from the album, called “Ghost Dance.”
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Featured photo: The Bright Light Social Hour perform at Stubbs. Photo by Roger Ho, via Facebook.