San Francisco's Brilliant Colors' Introducing is the kind of album that makes you yearn to see the band play. It feels like a hurried communique reading something like, "We're over here! Come see us!" Some albums transport you to impossible places; this one takes me on a magical journey to what I think their live set would be like. As happy places go, that suits me fine.
The imaginary show in question sees me waving tightly wadded fists in the air to some messy, pretty rocknroll that skitters across every possible intersection of punk and pop. But I'm not paying too close attention. I'm jumping up and down, especially when they play "English Cities." Sorry, what? Did you say something?
There's something about the production that suggests an outdoor concert on a sunny, dry day.
The album's out on Slumberland but the the veil of noise and vague air of disaffection marks this trio as part of the Captured Tracks/Woodsist family of animal. And a particularly vigorous example of the breed at that. The spacey, hazey '60s pop influence is there and invites comparisons to Vivian Girls but Brilliant Colors is less composed in every sense of the word. This debut full-length feels like a hastily assembled collage of colored tissue paper. (Brilliantly colored tissue paper of course.)
While there's plenty of art here, there's more life to be found than in Vivian Girl's arguably flawless debut. At least musically, they skip the Gen Y/Urban Outfitters blankness in favor of a sound with some hair on its chest and, as a former persistently high-spirited D student in high school, I tend to champion the sloppy and the lively when I come across it. Drummer Diane Anastasio has a satisfyingly bashy approach to her instrument, and it is not surprising that guitarist Michelle Hill has been a touring guitarist with The Slits.
Frontwoman Jess Scott yaps out a lot of her vocals, but sings in a sweet, unaffected voice when she chooses. After hearing "English Cities" and "Mythic," she is my new lady du rock pin-up. With that delicate Riot Grrrl/Valley Girl drawl, she takes it back and brings it up to date at the same time. Alas, the band is on the West Coast for the near future.