Brighter – Out To Sea

Out To Sea

During an era where bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure threatened young teenage ears with synths and electric guitars, England’s Brighter held tightly to the more dreamy style of twee. With jangly guitars, the sparsest of drums and soft vocals, the group paints musical images of walking hand in hand with a new love along the beach or the first slow dance at a prom.

Out To Sea is comprised of 20 tracks that capture the nearly lost brand of pre-twee. The entire album has been digitally remastered to bring out each strum and finger-picked melody within the layers that make up each song. The first 8 songs showcase the long out of print Laurel, the bands first and last full-length album. These songs release the best of this band with tracks like “Christmas,” “Ocean Sky,” and “Summer Becomes Winters” delivering a timeless beauty of softly layered guitar, vocals and in the latter, piano, that is a treat for the ears. If either of these songs were to show up today at a high school prom for the slow dance, I doubt anyone would notice that the song was older than they are.

Following the first 8 tracks, “If I Could See” and “Wallflower,” are previously unreleased tracks that were actually recorded at the same as Laurel and have the same serene quality of the other tracks. The next 5 songs were released on German labels Blam-A-Bit and Sturm und Drang and have a different style. While the jangly pop sound is always the soul of Brighter, the late 80’s/early 90’s influences show more in these tracks than any of the others. The tempo picks itself up a small amount and some keyboards are added to the mix. Even the vocals have been raised above a sung whisper to reveal a more slightly out of tune innocence. The more layered style shows the band expertise for delivering a quality pop tune, even without hiding behind the earlier hushed style.

“There’s Nothing We Can Do?” begins the run of 4 more previously unreleased tracks that would have formed a debut album in 1990 had it ever left the recording studio. The first track begins with a more obvious drum beat and hints of keyboards producing a sound not seen on any other song in the collection. These songs keep the tempo picked up slightly until “Amy Never Knew”, by far the saddest feeling track of the bunch and a good lead-in for the “Still”. The album closes with the simplistic keyboards, calming vocals the bands signature guitar jangle that envelopes listeners like a warm hug goodbye with the line “Lost forever/ Lost together.”

The music on Out To Sea has a charm that is all its own with the beautifully serene layers and dreamy vocals. So while its difficult to compare this band with anyone in more recent times, I can say that with dreamy pop alive and kickin’ in today’s music scene that Brighter could have easily found a place in the hearts of the indie crowd if they were still playing together. This album is an exquisite look at the different sides of a band that was sadly lost in the shuffle of high-energy dance music and synth-based rock.