Bright Light Social Hour

Space Is Still the Place (Frenchkiss)

Texas Platters

Bright Light Social Hour

Space Is Still the Place (Frenchkiss)

Five long years after the band's eponymous debut rocked hard and free enough to garner its creators Band of the Year honors at the 2010 Austin Music Awards, Bright Light Social Hour returns with something else altogether. Worth the wait? And then some. Pared down to the trio of bassist Jack O'Brien, guitarist Curtis Roush, and drummer Joseph Mirasole, BLSH break orbit on Space Is Still the Place. While rooted in the same Seventies jam rock as Bright Light Social Hour, the local threesome now journeys far beyond the party-down vibe of Foghat to a more serious head trip echoing Pink Floyd and its prog-rock brethren as well as latter-day pioneers including My Morning Jacket. Energized throughout by synthesizers, but powered by Mirasole's inventive beats, Roush's guitar gleam, and harmonies that are the definition of power-pop, Space Is Still the Place can best be appreciated in one 45-minute listen. The unexpected whoosh of opener "Sweet Madelene" blows back hair before settling on the warped blues of "Slipstream." The suite of songs mid-LP, beginning with the refracted "Sea of the Edge" and wrapped by the near breathless beauty of "Infinite Cities," finds the band at its most imaginative. The pulse of closer "Escape Velocity" builds to a bacchanalian end that simultaneously resembles the Bright Light Social Hour of five years ago, while offering a striking vision of what they've become. The professed theme of a future South feels almost complete, never counterfeit: a heady combination of thoughtfulness and concern. An early contender for Austin album of the year.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Bright Light Social Hour
Pre-Eminent Local Producer Danny Reisch Moves South to Lockhart
Pre-Eminent Local Producer Danny Reisch Moves South to Lockhart
The challenge as he moves is to maintain the same creative space and energy

Doug Freeman, Aug. 12, 2016

Special Assembly
Special Assembly
Thousands rally at the Capitol

Jordan Smith, July 5, 2013

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Crack Pipes
Fake Eyelashes (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Nov. 9, 2018

Texas Platters
Texacala Jones
Pony Island Express (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Nov. 9, 2018

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bright Light Social Hour

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle