Bright - Bells Break Their Towers
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Bells Break Their Towers

Bright is one of those hundreds of little independent groups that make you glad that we live in the day and age that we do. Forrmed over ten years ago, the duo started out creating instrumentals that veered between harmony and dissonance, and over the course of the last decade they've slowly refined their style and released albums as they've had the chance. Like many other lesser-known artists, they're not getting rich off their music, but doing it for the love. After a hiatus of almost five years (in which member Mark Dwinell released a solo album), the group is back with another fully-formed effort of elliptical ambient rock tracks that push the listener into a certain headspace.

It was just on their last release Full Negative (Or) Breaksthat the group first started incorporating vocals, and they bring them into the mix even more on this newest effort, although it's mainly to provide another hypnotic texture rather than to add any words of great weight. Such is the work of the group, as they usually start in a place, then climb and climb to another, then slowly wind back down again. "Manifest Harmony" mixes multiple layers of loping guitars with almost mantra-like vocals and chimes over repetitive percussion, while "An Ear Out" takes a slightly more krauty feel, shifting winding layers of guitar over one another while rhythms change up underneath.

At eight songs and almost seventy minutes, the album definitely isn't one for brevity, but with the subtle ways that the group changes their songs, they need a bit of time to let things play out. Some of the best tracks of the release find them getting away from their build-it-up, break-it-down formula and doing their best work, as on the acoustic-guitar laced "Flood" and the shimmering ambience of "Secret Form Of Time" (which sounds like a swirl of harpsichord mixed with minimal percussion and some key piano chords). With some of the songs taking on a slightly overlong and aimless feel (maybe partially due to being largely improvised), Bells Break Their Towers isn't a perfect album, but it's a fine bit of hypnotic heady rock for putting on when you need to lock into a task and see it through to completion.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2005-11-24 19:18:47