Brightwood - Elementals

Album cover
Acoustic, Emo
Independent
Brightwood
Elementals
Brightwood - Elementals Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Brightwood creates an acoustically-layered soundscape with their latest release "Elementals" which is quite a transition for the band, as they go from emo-savvy electronic procedure, as exemplified on their previous release "Wake", and convert their past work to a more organic and simplistic form. The latter works well for Brightwood, as "Elementals" exudes a Secondhand Serenade-esque (on his acoustic debut "Awake"), mixed in with a heart-wrenching violin that clearly sets the mood and creates an indelibly aural atmosphere.

There’s no denying the beauty in Brightwood’s simplicity. In fact, I’m sure many will prefer the acoustic album over all of their full-band work. In “Surefire”, the heart-wrenching acoustic balladry is infectious and pure. The song may be about a…ahem…girl, but it lacks that obvious cheesy surface, and instead feels more authentic and sincere. In fact, most of the tracks on Elementals falls into this particular category.

The beauty of the violin is what gives this album eloquence. The simple idea of adding the ever-gorgeous instrument to an acoustic album was ingenious, but the execution is nearly flawless. Without it, this album would definitely be lacking, and would stray into an area of mediocrity. “Wake” contains probably the most sporadic measures out of all the tracks, as the violin varies from a bluegrass/country style during the verse, to a more orchestral feel during the chorus and bridge. However, the violin is at its best when its setting the mood in the background, as opposed to being the star proponent; best exemplified in “Marked & Tied”. The best track on this album is undoubtedly “The Futile”. Executing building crescendos is not an easy thing to do with sparse instrumentation, but Brightwood pulls it off with a bang here.

My full apologies (not entirely sincere) to anyone who disagrees, but this is Brightwood’s best work thus far. Maybe my opinion is skewed because I happen to find beauty in the simple, but a stripped-down version of these songs show the true heart of the band. Why do you think we’re so attracted to MTV’s "Unplugged" (I mean when they’re showcasing a good artist of course)? It’s because the songs become revealed in a way they can’t when overshadowed by electric instrumentation.

1. Wake
2. Surefire
3. Marked & Tied
4. Conversations With Stars
5. In Memory
6. Dreamer to a Dream
7. Sit Still
8. Sound the Alarm
9. The Futile
10. Taken

"We’ve all felt it. That fleeting moment so fiercely alive, yet unexplainably surreal. That defining instant of clarity, powerful enough to suspend time. That crushing awareness…rendering us motionless and quiet.

It is in these moments that we are perpetually inspired."

Brightwood's music is available for purchase on iTunes

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