Brightblack Morning Light: Mood Music

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Oppressions Each"
  • Artist: Brightblack Morning Light
  • CD: Motion to Rejoin
  • Genre: Rock
Brightblack Morning Light 300

Brightblack Morning Light is known for languid, moody drones, but "Oppressions Each" offers a moment of clarity. Magic Andy McLeod hide caption

toggle caption Magic Andy McLeod

Brightblack Morning Light's "Oppressions Each" opens sparsely, with the low rattle of a Fender Rhodes keyboard and a lightly plinking piano. The band, fronted by two childhood friends — Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater and Rachael "Rabob" Hughes — typically crafts its music around meandering free-folk melodies. But its latest album, Motion to Rejoin, demonstrates more purpose.

Shineywater and Hughes are known for having moved to rural Northern California, lived off the land in tents and a cabin, and remained outspoken politically; they've been known to ban military recruiting personnel from their concerts. While some of that background informs their lyrics, which issue social messages amidst the psychedelic abstraction, "Oppressions Each" rises above the standard protest song.

Still steeped in atmospherics, Shineywater's whispering voice echoes with every breath as he sings about a desire to overcome oppression. The words are straightforward, but as soon as his voice is filled out with a soulful choir of harmonized voices, the tone shifts from a lament to something more powerful and perhaps heavenly, recalling a Sunday spent singing in a gospel choir. In an album full of hushed sentiments and languid, moody drones, "Oppressions Each" offers a cathartic moment of clarity.

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