The Bright Light Social Hour, The Bright Light Social Hour

The Bright Light Social Hour, The Bright Light Social Hour

At first blush, Austin band The Bright Light Social Hour’s self-titled debut would sound perfectly at home on just about any classic-rock station you can name, although unlike a lot of their retro-rock contemporaries, they don’t reach backwards to the Stones, Byrds, or Zeppelin for their sound. Rather, they bring to mind the Doobie Brothers more than anything else, melding bluesy riffs with soulful singing, funk basslines (“Rhubarb Jam”), and a Southern-rock twinge.

It’s kind of a surprising touchstone for a band this young, but it works well for the Social Hour guys, particularly on tracks like the appropriately Motown-esque soul howl of “Detroit” and bumping disco of “Back and Forth.” I started off a skeptic, honestly, but over the course of the album, they manage to win me over, pulling off their intriguing, unique hybrid of classic rock sounds and indie sensibility nicely, even bringing to mind The Hold Steady on “Men Of The Sea” and the epic, Springsteen-ian “Garden Of The Gods.”

The ultimate high point for me has got to be the stomping, testifying “Bare Hands Bare Feet,” which comes off like Radio 4’s quasi-political yell-along stomp if you stripped away the electronics and replaced ’em with fiery, Hendrix-y guitars, Doors-y keys, and the occasional surprise dub-y bass bit. Or, come to think of it, like most of Primal Scream’s funk-blues oddball masterpiece Give Out But Don’t Give Up. And hell-yes, it works — by the time the song cruises to the finale, I’m banging my head along to the relentless beat, ready to get out there and start laying bricks for the brand-new city the Social Hour’s exhorting us all to create. “Let’s start it”? Yes, please.

[The Bright Light Social Hour is playing the Spring Forward Music Festival on 3/12/11 at Groundhall & ECHO, along with a ton of other bands.]
(self-titled; The Bright Light Social Hour --
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, March 12th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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5 Responses to “The Bright Light Social Hour, The Bright Light Social Hour

  1. Laura S on March 24th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    It looks like many people agree with you… TBLSH was awarded 6 “best of the year” awards at the Austin Music Awards on March 19 and several top-10 rankings! Congratulations!
    Band of the Year
    Album of the Year – “The Bright Light Social Hour”
    Song of the Year – “Detroit”
    Best Bass Guitar – Jack O’Brien
    Best Keyboards – A.J. Vincent
    Best Record Producer – Good Dannys Danny Reisch, “The Bright Light Social Hour”

    #2 Best Rock Band
    #2 Best Electric Guitar – Curtis Roush
    #2 Best Drums/Percussion – Jo Mirasole
    #3 Best Songwriter – The Bright Light Social Hour
    #3 Best Indie Band
    #4 Best Male Vocals – Curtis Roush
    #6 Musician of the Year – Jack O’Brien

  2. Jeremy Hart on March 24th, 2011 at 1:22 am

    It’s well deserved, I’d say. Still got “Bare Hands Bare Feet” stuck in my head…

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Spring Forward (Plus Reviews!) + South By Due East + Los Skarnales Tour Kickoff + More on August 25th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    […] we got up for the somewhat-recent Alkari DVD and Bright Light Social Hour full-length here and here, respectively. Oh, and look here for more detailed info. Seriously, it’s going on right now, […]

  4. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Knights of the Fire Kingdom + Co-Pilot + Bright Light Social Hour + Rammstein + Fox & Cats + More on August 1st, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    […] slept on The Bright Light Social Hour‘s self-titled album when it came out back in 2010, only stumbling across it in the spring of last year, and I was kicking myself once I had. The band is bluesy and raw and soulful all at once, pounding […]

  5. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Bright Light Social Hour + Midnight Norma Lane + Tiziano Dominico + La Sien + Tigerparty + More on December 7th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    […] They meld classic-rock with more contemporary indie sounds in an awesome, awesome way, especially with songs like “Detroit” and barnburner “Bare Hands Bare Feet” — check out the full review we ran last year of the band’s self-titled album, right here. […]

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