Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, Emergency Leisure

Fifth platter grooves another uncannily transportive audio experience

Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, <i>Emergency Leisure</i>

Album cover staging a rock star bacchanal reminiscent of the gatefold sleeve to the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet, the Bright Light Social Hour's Emergency Leisure updates it with a Studio 54 disco makeover – musically as well as visually, aesthetically. Fifth album since 2010's eponymous local splash, the new party platter grooves yet another uncannily transportive audio experience. "Dance-flavored melodies, shimmering retro soul, and sing-along anthems," cited our debut LP review, which holds trademark true for Emergency Leisure, best full-length since 2015's Space Is Still the Place. A ticklish weightlessness, like some sort of musical moonwalk representing both Michael Jackson's illusory backpedaling and Neil Armstrong's giant steps and long jumps, manifests here like inner space externalized into infinite cosmos. In contemporizing progressive sine waves into retro-futuristic synthwave, TBLSH relights a spectral niche in Austin chillwave. Much of that goes to Jackie O'Brien singing a timeless calm: Sixties mind expansion, Seventies buzz, Eighties seamlessness, Nineties rusticana, and Aughts existentialism. Singing bass players fashion buoyant vocal lines. Warmth of a Wurlitzer, and spot ticks and twitches – glockenspiel, trumpet, sax – layer alongside an Afrobeat skitter-n-pop of rockist reassurance. Originators O'Brien and Curtis Roush (guitar/vocals) completed by Mia Carruthers (keys/vocals), Zac Catanzaro (drums), and Juan Alfredo Ríos (percussion) levitate. Pet Shop Boys breakdown in "Most High," a gravity-free hippie convergence; ricochet beats and celestial keys refracting "Amsalak" into caffeinated narcosis; and slapping conga for "Eating Out My Mind" all bust a move. Side B distorts ("Death of a Lifer") and distends ("Swollen"), but "Call My Name" bumps, grinds, unwinds.

The Bright Light Social Hour

Emergency Leisure (Escondido Sound)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 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 The Bright Light Social Hour
Texas Platters
The Bright Light Social Hour
Missing Something (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Oct. 26, 2018

Texas Platters
The Bright Light Social Hour & Israel Nash
Neighbors (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Nov. 25, 2016

More Music Reviews
Review: Holy Wave, <i>Five of Cups</i>
Review: Holy Wave, Five of Cups
Five of Cups (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 1, 2023

Review: Ariadne Mila, <i>elemental</i>
Review: Ariadne Mila, elemental
elemental (Record Review)

Adam Cherian, Aug. 4, 2023

More by Raoul Hernandez
Kerry King Talks Solo Debut Ahead of Ashes of Leviathan Tour
Kerry King Talks Solo Debut Ahead of Ashes of Leviathan Tour
Slayer guitarist talks 20 years of rocking ahead of Austin performance

July 19, 2024

Album Review: Superfónicos’ <i>Renaceré</i>
Album Review: Superfónicos’ Renaceré
Colombian funk septet marks a decade with debut long-player

July 19, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Bright Light Social Hour, Jackie O'Brien, Curtis Roush, Mia Carruthers, Zac Catanzaro, Juan Alfredo Ríos

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

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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