Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Modern Outsider)
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Feb. 8, 2019
Celestial synthesizers and reverb-wall guitars combust into black-hole distortion basslines attaining warp speed in "Give to Me Words," opener on Jude Vol. 1. For its third long-player, the Bright Light Social Hour continues spinning on an axis of spiraling psychedelics and prog-rock maelstroms in line with previous release Space Is Still the Place in 2015.
Unlike the Floydian ambitions of said sophomore album and the Seventies jam rock found on the Austin quartet's 2010 debut, TBLSH here draw new elements from shoegaze, Krautrock, and New Wave. "She Wanna Love You" lays down the best grooves of bassist Jackie O' Brien, commingled with Edward Braillif's keyboard drone, Curtis Roush's six-string funk shuffles, and Joseph Mirasole's cymbal splashwork. Single "Lie to Me (Große Lüge)" ripples with gleaming guitar plumes and "Darling You" rockets space-wave chic with retro keyboard stabs that slip into the hair blow-back of "Open Borders," a blooming epic of synth play.
Lyrically, the album functions not only as a political manifesto on hyper-information anxiety and Trump malaise, but as a cathartic therapy session stemming from the suicide of Jackie's brother, Alex Jude, front and center on eulogy "My Boy." Ultimately, Jude Vol. 1 echoes the Bright Light Social Hour's ability to channel cosmic head trips and break orbit to realms of inventiveness and imagination.