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May 21st, 2009
Tuesday reviewsday: Another two bands

Scene Reporter

Now that college is out, time for two record reviews.

The Bright Light Social Hour
Back and Forth

“Back and Forth” is the third EP release for Austin-based rockers The Bright Light Social Hour. Like its predecessors “Touches,” and “Love Like Montopolis,” the album only consists of three tracks, one of which is “Back and Forth-Part Two,” a catchy tune and undeniable crowd pleaser which even has its own video.

Formed in 2004 with the inclusion of original and current members vocalist/bassist Jack O’Brein and vocalist/guitarist Curtis Roush, the band has since been joined by keyboardist and vocalist A.J. Vincent and drummer Joseph Mirasole.

The first track entitled, “Back and Forth-Part One,” serves mostly as an instrumental prelude to “Back and Forth-Part Two,” the EP’s standout track. The 2 ½-minute ambient keyboard line and soft cymbal tapping adjusts into the gateway bass and drum riff for “Part Two” two seconds before it ends. “Back and Forth-Part Two,” continues where “Part One” leaves off, but manifests a polka-esque kuitar beat and rock guitar riff.

A vague innuendo at the beginning, Roush sings “I’m going back and forth, then going back and forth, then going back and ahh I want you feel everything that I feel….” Only is it apparent what the song is really about when the song goes into the fourth verse— “I’m going in and out, then going in and out, then going in and out, I just don’t know what to do—to move with you.” Midway through the song, O’Brien adds some  Spanish lyrics admdst Roush and Vincent’s  soft “ooohh oohhhs,” preceded  and concluded by the back and forth’ chorus.

The third track, “Rhubarb Jam,” begins with sound bite before a titillating bass riff commences a loud explosive jam that mellows out halfway into a cool jazzy groove.

The album art done in light and dark shades of yellow and pink features the image of female caricature demonstrating an expression of sheer pleasure – head titled back, eyes closed and mouth baring upper teeth. The band’s name and album title is printed on the lower left side of the cover.

Prayer for Animals
…from the upcoming LP Swell

The four-track album is a preview of Prayer for Animal’s upcoming summer release. “Swell.” Hailing from Mansfield, TX (with the exception of the drummer), the band  is now based in Austin and consists of Brent Sluder on electric piano/organ and vocals, Jeremy Jenkins on bass, Ryan Gitman on drums, John Pitts on guitar and slide guitar and Adam Brisbin on guitar and vocals. Both Brisbin and Pitts split lead guitar duties while Brisbin and Sluder split vocal duties.

The first track, entitled, “Recollection,” contains a psychedelic Doors-y, Thirteenth Floor Elevators element permeated with vintage guitar tones. “Neutral Bees,” a melodic fusion of rock, blues, captivating vocals and poetic prose — “Neutral Bees don’t sting unless they eat, heaven found a reason yet to sting,” is the probably the grooviest track of the album. The experimental guitar riff featured in the track compliments Sluder’s whiskey soaked vocals suitably and creates a 1970’s feel.

The concluding track, “Brains,” begins slowly with a soft tambourine jiggling and slide guitar picking, progressing into an explosion of psychedelic rock.

This short preview sells elevated expectations of the full-length album, which is set to release this summer – embracing a cool late 1960’s-early 1970’s epoch and being a perfect choice to put on at chill get togethers.

The album’s art is simple, consisting of a coffee brown fabric decorated with flowery paisleys pasted onto the white surface of the case. The interior flaps include the band’s name in a bubbly design and the four track titles etched in black pen. The back is plain.

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