Album review of Motion To Rejoin by Brightblack Morning Light released through Matador Records.
Some artists rejoice in the belief that making hideously overblown statements of their so-called intentions is the way forward to success and prosperity. Others, however, would rather just keep the whole thing simple, almost to a minimal, if slightly nonchalant degree that some would call lazy rather than effortless if it weren't for the potency of the music contained within.
Californian duo Brightblack Morning Light slip quite evidently into the latter category. While it would be easy to just dismiss them as stoners or hippies, particularly due to their locality and the history that goes with it, that would be doing their engagingly tranquil wares an almighty disservice. Sure, there are obvious throwbacks in what they do to a time when Timothy Leary was experimenting with microdots and Syd Barrett was the focal point in 'The' Pink Floyd and their amazing Technicolor light and sound show. The fact that Brightblack Morning Light are of a completely different era doesn't really alter the mindset. What they do have, however, is an intense political message which is conveyed throughout 'Motion In Light'; yes, you guessed it, their opposition to United States military presence in the Middle East isn't something they take lightly, and even though these songs glide with a wistful ambience last heard on the early Porcupine Tree records, make no mistake about the more-often-than-not whispered commentary that encapsulates such soothing rides as 'Oppressions Each'.
The two main conspirators here, Nathan 'Naybob' Shineywater and Rachael Hughes both have a history of being keen environmentalist spokespeople when they're not making music, and the words to 'Hologram Buffalo', the album's opening spine-tingling voyage, reads like a list of man-made crusades against what nature intended. Likewise, 'A Rainbow Aims' is a moving, cataclysmic trip that recalls Spacemen 3 in their 'Perfect Prescription' days, settling into an almost comatose loop of gently strummed guitars with the emphasis purely on coming down.
Elsewhere, 'Motion To Rejoin' crosses so many boundaries musically that it would be impossible to pinpoint any one generic area of expertise Brightblack Morning Light feel safe in. Which is probably the reason why this record is so captivating in many ways; at times one can almost imagine the record being made in one take without any prior rehearsals, such is the mellow atmosphere and air of de-stressed relaxation throughout. 'Past A Weatherbeaten Fencepost' perhaps sums up the whole vibe here, taking a similar path to the experimental leanings of psychedelic legends Love while never straying too far away from Shineywater and Hughes' obvious folk roots either, in the same way America's 'Horse With No Name' is still revered, albeit quietly, by anyone with a vague interest in such a genre.
'Motion To Rejoin' looks like breaking Brightblack Morning Light's seven-year itch - their first recordings emerged way back in 2001 to little or no attention - in that the fame their core members tend to shy away from may be unavoidable to steer clear from once the masses become aware of this opus. And trust me they will, sooner rather than later.
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