Bright to Death is Film School's fifth album and first full-length since 2011's Fission. Recorded over 8 days in November 2017 on the outskirts of Joshua Tree, this luminescent collection of 11 songs is the finest showcase yet for the band's signature layered sonic tones, psychedelic atmospheres, and seductive melodies."When this lineup first came together in the early 2000s, I never thought we'd be doing some of our best work 15 or so years later," marvels Film School singer and guitarist Greg Bertens. "Our [self-titled] album came out in 2006, when bands like the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand were in full swing. The music landscape was totally different then-shoegaze was a bad word. That's changed.""Crushin," the album's dreamy, melancholy opener (and first single), is the kind of secret message you'd put on a playlist for an unrequited love, in between Beach House and Slowdive. "Don't Send My Love," a dancefloor-ready ode to post-breakup spite, is complemented by "Two in Sun," with its washes of pure, enveloping atmosphere; and the Paisley Underground vibe of "Bye Bye Bird" is a catchy counterpoint to the propulsive rhythm of "The Celebration." But for all its familiar touchstones, Bright to Death constantly surprises the listener as well, making the album Film School's most compelling yet. Take the title track, a hypnotic, midtempo hip-shaker primed for an extended electronica remix. Or the menacing "Go Low," with its layers of sound building over a distorted synth track to create a sonic dystopia, while the bouncy, stripped-down "Waking Up" sparkles like the prom song in a John Hughes movie.The Joshua Tree recording session came about almost by accident. Greg was at a Fourth of July get-together in NorCal, grumbling to bassist Justin LaBo about musical writer's block.
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