REVIEW: Brighten – Peace and Quiet

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Artist: Brighten
Album: Peace and Quiet
Genre: Indie-Pop

Hailing from Chico, California, Brighten is a band that’s been no stranger to the emo/indie music scene. Their emotional lyrics and excellent songwriting have been entertaining fans since the release of their debut album, King vs. Queen back in 2007. Over the years, Brighten’s activity as a band has slowly moved from a full-time touring band into a band that releases an album whenever they feel like. Some would speculate a lot of this due to lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Justin Richard’s involvement in the Fueled By Ramen band, A Rocket To The Moon. So, when word came down a few months ago that Brighten would be releasing new album in entitled, Peace and Quiet, it took many people by surprise.

Like Brigthen’s past albums, a lot of the lyrical content on Peace and Quiet displays the up’s and down’s of being in love. Justin Richards’ wailing falsetto on songs like “I’ll Be There” and “Little Locket,” showcase his unbelievable vocal range and the ability to bring out an emotional response in any casual listener. At times, the lyrical content may come off a bit hokey or overly sappy, but with Richard’s convincing vocal performance, this detail is easy to overlook.

Not every song on Peace and Quiet is emotionally draining. “Never Alone” maintains all of the quality vocals and guitar work you hear on the rest of the album, while chugging along to a kick and snare drum beat. This record could easily be something you’d hear on the slower side of their 2010 release, Early Love.

There’s no question that Justin Richard’s is a talented pop-song writer. His ability to write a love song is undeniable. It’s clear his involvement and influence in A Rocket To The Moon is much more evident after hearing Brighten’s progression from album to album. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to go as far and say that over the years, Brighten has become more of a creative outlet for Richard’s song writing than a committed project.

If you’re expecting a Brighten album like past releases King vs. Queen or Early Love, you might be greatly disappointed. Listeners shouldn’t expect to turn on this album, and rock out with the windows down on a summer day. There are no apparent electric guitars, and virtually no full drum kit tracks on this album. In fact, a lot of the records on Peace and Quiet become difficult to distinguish due to their minimal instrumentation, and finger picking acoustic guitar playing. However, to the avid Brighten fan, this may come as no surprise. The band has been consistently progressing towards a country/folk writing style for the past few years. All in all, it’s great to keep seeing Brighten’s name pop up on album release calendars, even if it’s only every few years. The band has a provide track record of releasing emotional pop songs, and this album is no different.

Score: 7.5/10
Standout Tracks: “Never Alone” and “Little Locket”
Review written by: Mike Sacchetti – Follow him on Twitter

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