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MP3 Brindley Brothers - Playing With the Light

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"MAGICAL...NEAR PERFECT...A POP/ROCK GEM...AN EARLY CONTENDER FOR ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2004." THE WASHINGTON POST

"DECEPTIVELY DEEP AND BEAUTIFULLY REALIZED" - AMPLIFIER

9 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, ROCK: Americana



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"Fans of Wilco and Gin Blossoms will swoon" -- ROLLING STONE

"Punchy melodies, brotherly harmonies and songs that get to -- and have -- a point without wasting their breath or your time. Serious pop for anyone who feels lost in today's musical wasteland." -- BUZZ MCLAIN, PLAYBOY MAGAZINE

Who knew that Vienna, Va., would give birth to an early contender for one of the best albums of 2004? Locals Luke and Daniel Brindley, aka the Brindley Brothers, make a superb bid for any Top 10 list with their magical nine-song debut, "Playing With the Light," a straight-ahead rock/pop gem that impresses without trying too hard to and captivates with an abundance of catchy hooks and smart, heartfelt lyrics.

Though the disc is tinged with melancholy and uncertainty, an appealing spirit abides in these tunes. Neither overly naive nor depressingly jaded, they bob up and down on waves of joy and disappointment. The songs acknowledge darkness, yet strive to break free of it, as on the feisty rocker "Supernova," where Luke Brindley sings, "We all need something to light up the night / I've never thrown a punch, but I'm ready to fight / I'm no expert, but I'm willing to learn / I'm no supernova, but honey, I'm ready to burn."

That enduring spirit also finds its way to the near-mystical "Harder, Easier, Better" as well as the shimmering Beatlesque piano pop of "Roman Candle," where Luke hints at humor even when singing a pitifully sad line: "It's been too long, I've written 22 songs about how you've been gone. And that's not a good thing. Tell me, who wants to hear them?"

At other moments, the Brindleys -- who also own and operate Vienna's Jammin' Java club -- bring to mind an updated version of the best of '70s California rock. "The Crazy One" has the feel of a languid Eagles tune, while on the title track and "Hudson River" Luke Brindley sounds like an edgier Jackson Browne. Lovely harmonies and soaring horns add to the lush feel, and the exquisite production gives the album a full, meaty sound.

The Brindleys, who play guitar, piano and organ and sing, produced the album with Jared Bartlett and are helped out by a slew of musicians, including Jon Carroll, Jeff Lang, Harry Evans, Kevin McIntyre and Paul Barber.

Although the brothers' songs clearly reflect a wide array of influences (in addition to the '70s vibe, you can hear the mark of the Replacements here, Wilco there), this is in no way a record that lives in the past. The songs may not chart new territory musically, but they reflect a post-9/11 anxiety about life and a desire to find reasons to believe and people who share those beliefs.

The Brindleys also keep it admirably short. The CD clocks in at just 34 minutes -- near-perfect in an age when every performer seems to think more is more. Too many artists want to cram every sound they've ever uttered into the 70-plus minutes available on a standard CD. Face it, by Track 17 who's still paying attention? The Brindleys, on the other hand, keep your attention throughout.

Whether they can turn this small-label debut (available at https://www.tradebit.com) into a major success story remains to be seen, but it is certainly worthy of attention.

Joe Heim, The Washington Post


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