Essential new track collection of rarities and unreleased tracks from beloved English band Brighter. The album features several of the band's best known songs including indie classics 'Ocean Sky' and 'Christmas.
Also showcasing Brighter's ability to pen upbeat, jangly pop hits, 'Out To Sea' features five early 4-track recordings originally released on limited edition flexidiscs by the German labels Blam-A-Bit and Sturm und Drang. Perhaps more than later recordings, Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 fan favorites demonstrate the band's expertise in layering instruments and voice together to form a melodic wall of sound.
Among the album's six unreleased tracks are four songs from a scrapped debut album recorded in Additional unreleased gems 'If I Could See' and 'Wallflower' were recorded at the same time as 'Laurel' but dropped from that release and languished in the vaults.
They are among the most immediate songs the band ever wrote and, with this release, are likely to become posthumous Brighter classics more than 15 years after their recording.
Several years later, Howard formed the popular band Harper Lee and appeared as bassist for Trembling Blue Stars, while Sharkey joined Fosca for a time before launching a solo career as Pinkie. Of all the Sarah bands, Brighter were probably the most reliable. Not for them the highs and lows of romance and life; they stuck to the resolutely melancholy side of the equation at all times.
Laurel is a tiny masterpiece of sadness and regret set to pretty melodies and sung by Keris Howard in the kind of sweet and tender voice that sets indie kids' hearts a-flutter and sets rockers' teeth on edge. It's one of the best long releases in the Sarah catalog and it's great to have it on CD. Of the six unreleased tracks, two of them were recorded at the Laurel session and would have actually added to the record's strength, especially the incredibly jangly "Wallflower. It was a wise decision on the band's part, as they are slightly weaker and less majestically sad songs -- still, it's nice to hear them.
Even more pleasing are the flexi tracks compiled here. They were frightfully rare, and even if you were lucky enough to own them, the records no doubt began disintegrating after the fourth or fifth play.
Just hearing the rocked-out "Next Summer" and "Looks Like Rain" again makes the whole disc worthwhile. Between this disc and Singlesit's clear to see that Brighter were one of the better bands to surface out of the late-'80s and early-'90s indie pop scene. It ties together the remaining loose ends, just as Keris tells me he's ready to tie the knot also with his current project Harper Lee.
Because it feels like I've come full circle in my love affair with Brighter, who have been among the handful of bands I've held closest to my heart Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 several years now, and that will certainly remain there forever. Obviously, the cd is first of all a reissue of the band's only album: Laurel. If you like Brighter you've probably heard it already, so I won't go Wait - Earth, Wind & Fire - I Am about that.
The title of the comp is from Laurel's sixth track, apparently a favourite for some. Mine is "Maybe" however, which has one of the most poignant lyrics according to my book. But there are also a wealth of songs from flexis, demos and an old compilation LP called Becket House - which I saw not long ago in a record store in Stockholm, despite Jimmy Tassos' frequent mentioning of its rarity. That is without a doubt one of the best Brighter songs there are.
Listening to this record I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of these previously unreleased songs that Keris seems to regard as inferior or rather naive. As if there was something wrong with naivety! There is nothing to rival a fast Brighter song, you know. All those F.
Golliwogs Cake-Walk - Debussy* - Ivan Moravec - Feux Dartifice / La Cathedrale Engloutie / Les of jangling guitar-figures and simple yet ingenious guitar-lines that sounds so majestic and moving in the slow songs just makes me go through the roof when played at the pace of classics like "Does Love Last Forever?
As you may have noticed Tom posted some Brighter demos on the Indie MP3 blog not long ago, and some of those tracks are to be found on Out to Sea, remastered and in their full glory. I'm very grateful for the cleaned-up version of "Nothing At All", which was the one I liked best among the demos posted!
That sets you to wondering if maybe other songs, even with Harper Lee, were perhaps written long ago? The only song on the record that makes you understand Keris' concern with the quality of the songwriting is "Airhead". But although it might not be a full-fledged Brighter composition, you can't help but be charmed. Just as with the singing on "Next Summer", where Keris sounds like he's about twelve. There must have been many requests for the reissue of Laurel not the least from me and we can only lift our hats for Jimmy Tassos, who's finally Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 it happen.
So, I was right in my prediction that this would be the record of year. One of the advantages of growing up No Sexx (With My Sister) (Non Lubricated Mix Instrumental) - MCJ & Cool G - No Sexx (With My Sister) that you get to look back at your awkward adolescence and laugh about Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 misunderstood you were and how much you misunderstood the world.
You know, that weird stretch as a socialist in college, that Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 middle-school haircut and a string of really, really bad dates all sort of makes sense once all the pieces fall together. For Brighter, that's not really the case. With Out to Sea rounding up a sizable chunk of the London bedroom pop's output including its sole full-length Laurel and a bunch of unreleased cuts 15 years after the band called it a day, it'd be nice to think that with the benefit of hindsight, everyone who wanders across Out to Sea would get it: That, unlike its detractors over the years claimed, the average Joe Record Collector would be able to see past the gentle hush and melt-in-your ears dynamics and recognize that Brighter wasn't as wrapped up in misery as it seemed on the surface.
Fat chance: The year jump to leaves the world so crowded with bands slinging misery and gloom, it's easy to usher Brighter into that category. It'd be a big mistake. Underneath the quiet and the low-key songwriting, Brighter -- which featured Harper Lee front man Kelis Howard -- embraced a heady, if cautious, optimism. Out To Sea's a reminder that the biggest difference between class-act bedroom pop and virtually every wave of emo is that optimism. It may be rainy and miserable today, but Brighter, and most of its Sarah Records compatriots, were constantly scanning the horizon in hope that the storm would break.
For the most part it's still drizzly, though the rain peeks through the clouds. The massive track collection hits some reasons on why Brighter -- a criminally overlooked pop act Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 ever there was one -- needs to find its way into your record collection.
The rest of the album's predictable, if pleasant, bedroom pop. Oh sure, Out to Sea has a downbeat streak a mile wide, but it isn't a depressed streak.
There's a subtle but monumental difference between standard miserabilist pop and melancholy -- check out Brighter as a yardstick to locate the latter type. Laurel is a walk through a glow or a haze, one created by guitars, by introspective singing, by some piano or synth. But there's also direct emotion inside the haze; these songs can be particularly affecting, in a gentle yet genuine way.
It's music of seasons, of journeys, marked by the passing of time. And Laurel is only the beginning of this collection Out to Sea, only the first 8 of its 20 tracks. The rest of the songs are in the same vein, and spectacular. Overall they have a slightly more extroverted and alert demeanor, one fitting their origins, their life outside the wondrous fog of Laurel -- there's 4-track recordings that ended up on flexi singles, tracks recorded with Laurel that never came out, tracks recorded later, or earlier.
It's a treasure trove of music from a truly remarkable band. Out to Sea' is the second Be My Lover - House Of Wallenberg - Legends EP (File) compilation CD released by Matinee records and this time around they have dug deep into the vaults for a number of the songs. The CD has 6 previously unreleased songs, 5 songs from hard to find German flexis, a rare compilation track, and 8 songs from the fabulous 'Laurel' mini-LP.
The songs from 'Laurel' will probably be enough for most fans of the band to track down this CD. A beautiful sense of uplifting melancholy. And while Brighter might be better known for their sombre moments, many of the unreleased tracks on this CD do a great job of showing the more upbeat side of the band. Both songs have a nice jangly-ness Pistol Packin Mama - Various - Western Swing The Absolute Essential 3CD Collection them and are sure to get your toes tapping.
The flexi tracks, originally released on German labels Blam-A-Bit and Sturm und Drang, continue the more upbeat vibe and capture the band at a time when they sound very young. Even here though, the layering of Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 , keyboard, and Howard's vocals is already present and working wonders - and the band sounds downright happy on 'Looks Like Rain'!
Get Down - Revolting Cocks - Beers, Steers & Queers CD also adds 4 songs that were recorded for the never released debut album and that weren't included on 'Laurel'. It is yet another fine example of the beautiful melancholy that Brighter was able to create. Simple guitar lines over keyboard tones with Howard's soft vocals floating on top.
While this compilation combined with 's 'Singles - ' does indeed complete the Brighter story. This is no mere collection of bits and scraps. Many of the songs on this CD are longtime fan favorites and it seems that some of the unreleased songs may become favorites as well - just 15 years later. Brighter was a group who shone briefly, yet never really got much attention. Some 16 years after the release of Laurel, an extremely rare issue, the songs from that album have returned in a re-mastered, compiled format.
The Singles release turned several heads inbut many thought that the cupboard was bare after that. Think of the Go-Betweens and these songs seem to come to life, with a gorgeous melody mixed with thoughtful lyrical content. Fans of the Smiths or Morrissey would also lap this material up, as there seems to be a bittersweet hook within each nugget.
It definitely has a timeless Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 about it from start to finish. The guitars give it far more bite than earlier songs, but it never loses its direction, winding itself around the airtight and surefire hook.
Brighter were fine at crafting songs that will never reach radio airwaves, rarely be heard by the masses and hailed as great by only a few. Luckily, I fall into the minority. I've had this album for a number of years but given my recent C86 revival its time to review it. Brighter are or were one of the most important bands in my life. Their songs of heartbreak and disappointment amid jangly guitars and perfect Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 spoke to me more than any other band's.
Years later can that still be true? This compilation collects together their only album, Laurel 10" LP - cool plus some rarities and unreleased tracks. All these years later can this still make my soul sing? OMG yes. Even more so. This is my blues. My heart's soundtrack. The tones and melodies mixed with sad vocals and lyrics. The music is delicate, almost impossibly Hope - Various - Victory: The Early Singles 1989-1992 at times. There is an amateurish air about the proceedings but in a good way.
These are people who cared and were doing it for themselves. Its the ultimate punk rock. Every song is irresistible. It won't be true for most people but for me this is the best record ever released.
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