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First Set Fire To The Stars album review

From start to finish, this oversized album (17—count ‘em—tracks) is a near-seamless soundscape deserving of a moody-but-tender Sofia Coppola or Zach Braff film. Was there ever a band that so completely lived up to its name? Night’s Bright Colors wrings velvety blue and cool gray from every post-shoegaze note. Songs reference dreams and space and hint at love without edging into sloppier emotions. There’s a crisp tidiness to each track that balances elements of fantasy: It’s electronic without being cold. On “Blue Eyes/Love in the Asylum,” front man Jason Smith sings, “Stars are drifting brightly shining through the spaces anyway / and I’ll find a way to turn it back in wonder.” Heady stuff, but it’s delivered with singsong whimsy tempered by shimmery mysticism. Thrumming bass and the smack of drums give backbone to occasional ethereal guitar licks. “Woke Up” raises the sonic bar even more with jangly guitars, tambourine and cymbals and doubled male and female voices: It’s Strawberry Alarm Clock-era folk-rock made utterly current. This is an album that requires more than a perfunctory listen, but its complex layers and pleasing alt-pop are well worth the effort.

Mountain Xpress

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