Phosphorescent Blues (Autobus)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Nov. 27, 2009
BrazosPhosphorescent Blues (Autobus)
With a sophistication only hinted at on previous EPs, Brazos ripples through the past brightly on its full-length debut, Phosphorescent Blues. Opener "My Buddy" slowly builds with the evocative grandeur of Grizzly Bear, while the sparse, icy chill of "Avignon" suggests In Rainbows-era Radiohead. "Day Glo" and the unfolding piano arpeggios of "We Understand Each Other" hint at Jon Brion's Eternal Sunshine. Yet, pianist/guitarist Martin Crane comes into his own here, most notably in the snappy "Kid" and rushing "Tell." There's an IMAX quality to his crystalline vocal inflections and photographic imagery; the presentation alone makes the experience worthwhile, which is why he can croon over the same hypnotic guitar loop for the entirety of his swinging, Adrienne Rich adaptation, "The Observer," without losing the listener's interest. It's a rare quality that subtly creates the space for guitarist Nathan Stein and White Denim drummer Josh Block to color around him, as in the blissfully nostalgic "Downtown Boys." Phosphorescent Blues is a local triumph by any measure.