London trio Bright Curse release their debut album, Before the Shore, May 13 on HeviSike Records. It’s among the most awaited debuts of the last couple years, the band having made a striking impression with their 2013 self-titled EP (review here) and subsequent Shaman single (review here) while cycling through a couple shifts in lineup that have brought guitarist/vocalist Romain Daut and drummer Zacharie Mizzi together with bassist Max Ternebring for the seven-track/43-minute LP, which was produced by the band and J.B. Pilon at Rock of London Studios with mastering by Jaime Gomez Arellano at Orgone Studios.
Topped off with striking artwork by Adam Burke, it’s also a release that dramatically repositions the group from where they were three years ago stylistically, swapping out the heavy psychedelia of their EP for a more clear-headed approach driven particularly by Daut‘s vocals and a spirit of modernized-sounding classic heavy rock that recalls the clarity in the production of the latest Kadavar without aping that band’s methods otherwise. Bright Curse‘s material is more flowing, more gradual, less directly playing to pop traditions, but a focus remains on songcraft, the bulk of the tracks running in the five-to-six-minute range, with brooding closer “Earth’s Last Song” longer at 8:29.
A rampant emotionalism ties the songs together, from opener “Lady Freedom” to the Graveyardian melancholia of “Candles and Flowers,” but moods nonetheless vary between them, and from front to back, Before the Shore moves smoothly through its course, flourishes like the spoken sample in “Cheating Pain” and the organ in the penultimate highlight “Northern Sky” adding to the context overall. And though they’ve grown into a more straightforward-sounding act overall, Bright Curse still find room to offer a jammy sensibility in the swinging solo section of “The Shore” and in the bluesy leads of semi-cultish centerpiece “Walking in a Graveyard (Bloody Witch),” which are offset by the album’s most fervent stomp, Mizzi‘s snare punctuating the natural but not vintage tones of Daut and Ternebring as Daut pushes his voice toward and past the breaking point for not the first time.
His stepping forward as a frontman becomes a defining characteristic of Before the Shore, and the command shown in either the quiet stretches of “Cheating Pain” and “Earth’s Last Song” or the more brash thrust of “Lady Freedom” and cowbell-inclusive swing of “Candles and Flowers” is not to be discounted in terms of the overarching impression the record makes. Listening back to the EP, Daut gave a strong vocal performance there as well, but the context was different, the tones surrounding thicker and more encompassing, whereas the crispness in the presentation of Before the Shore really gives him the space to shine in his delivery, somewhat indebted to Magnus Pelander in cadence but continuing to develop in identity as well.
That’s not to take anything away from the chemistry of Bright Curse as a whole, who’ve clearly spent the time since their first outing refining their approach. That shows itself throughout Before the Shore, whether it’s the catchy hooks of “Lady Freedom” and “Cheating Pain” or the more patient builds of “Northern Sky” and “Earth’s Last Day,” which takes a more linear turn where earlier cuts like “Walking in a Graveyard (Bloody Witch)” ebbed and flowed.
The plays in structure and what Daut, Ternebring and Mizzi are able to execute within them, particularly when taking into account that this is their first full-length, remain impressive, and while I’ll allow that part of me misses the psychedelic vibe of the EP — part of me always misses the psychedelic vibe — the flow they conjure here is palpable between tracks and goes a long way toward showing where their progression is headed. It’s a positive direction, and in the interim, Before the Shore marks the arrival of a band clearly ready to stand themselves out from a crowded London heavy rock scene, which, though it’s been a while in the making, means it got here right on time.
I have the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “Lady Freedom,” which you’ll find below, followed by Bright Curse‘s latest European tour announcement.
Stoked to finally unveil our whole upcoming European Tour, in support of our debut album “Before The Shore”, out on May 13th on HeviSike Records! It kicks-off in less than a month! Who’s coming!?
20.05 (F) Lille | El Diablo (w. Space Fisters)
21.05 (F) Caen | Le Bocal
22.05 (F) Bordeaux | Void – Make It Sabbathy (w. Space Fisters)
23.05 (F) Tours | Puzzle Pub – CRYPTE (w. Space Fisters)
24.05 (F) Nantes | Scène Michelet – CRUMBLE FIGHT (w. Space Fisters)
25.05 (F) Paris | L’Espace B (w. Space Fisters)
26.05 (NL) Amsterdam | The Cave
27.05 (D) Cologne | The Odonien
28.05 (B) Arlon | L’Entrepôt
31.05 (F) Strasbourg | Mudd Club (NEW SHOW)
01.06 (F) Dijon | Deep Inside
02.06 (F) Lyon | Les Capucins
03.06 (D) Karlsruhe | Bistro KA
07.06 (CH) Geneva | L’Usine – Kalvingrad
08.06 (F) Reims | L’Appart Café
Events & more info right here: https://www.facebook.com/BrightCurse/events