Review: Brights, This City Kills People (Self-Released, 2023)

Earlier this month, my old pal Birkir from Halifax Collect sent me a tip about this album from a seemingly obscure "new" band, Brights, that I know almost nothing about. Birkir was able to inform me that they're from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; and back in the late-'90s they were called Built in Shellbrook, at which time they released one full-length and an EP. I guess they're back together under a new name, and a handful of these songs were actually reworked from the old days.

Whatever the case, within less than 10 minutes, my initial reaction to This City Kills People was: this pretty much sounds like the album that I wish Renee Heartfelt had released after the Magdalene EP. (If you're unclear, that's a significant compliment.) We're talkin' Quicksand-ish post-hardcore, but it has a heavier alt.-rock oomph and slightly more streamlined hooks—à la the aforementioned Renee Heartfelt, or perhaps a less spacey Hum. There's atmosphere and nuance, but none of the boring crap—and in fact, you're in for some rather high-energy tempos at times.

Right away things start out and you're like, "Huh, this is pretty good." By track three, though, it's, "Damn, this is really fuckin' good." A few songs later? More like, "Holy shit, this might be one of the best albums of the year!" Just keeper after keeper—check out "Perfect Summer," "Surrogate," "RJ," "Spine," "Sometimes You Say the Wrong Thing," and then some. Loads of memorable choruses, and while there's enough polish to feel like it has that "wider" type of appeal, it's not so much so that anything is overly pristine nor affected. Had this come out 20 years ago on Victory Records, for example, Brights could—and should—have been successful for all the right reasons.

I've been told that there are some form of plans for a physical release, but I have no clue if that involves a label, nor how far along such plans may or may not be, etc. These tunes are very obviously deserving of such treatment, too. Absolutely awesome. This one really took me by surprise with just how killer the songwriting is. So, as always when I flip out like this, if you like what you hear, please tell some friends, 'cause stuff like this ought to be slaughtering many of its higher-profile contemporaries, but needs that word-of-mouth boost to get in front of more/the right ears...

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