Brilliant Colors, Introducing
Ten blustery, four-chord, amp-busting girl-group stompers in under half an hour
Brilliant Colors' sound of choice seems to appear on a 23-year cycle. In the early '60s, that sound belonged to the young garage-girl groups, whose cavernous production and straining voices never quite hit the charts; in the mid-'80s, it mutated into the speedy, sloppy, melancholy U.K. indiepop proffered by bands like the Shop Assistants and the Rosehips, whose frontwomen cared more about charm than power or accuracy. And now, a new set of terse four-amp-busting-chord wonders and bam-bam-BAM-bam beats have turned up, this time on the debut album from singer/guitarist/songwriter Jess Scott's Bay Area trio Brilliant Colors, who bluster through ten airy little stompers in slightly under 23 minutes.
What sets Brilliant Colors apart from their antecedents, as well as from their contemporaries like Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls, is Scott's scrupulously condensed lyrics. The words to "English Cities" are basically just three lines, encapsulating her band's aesthetic and the limitations she knows come along with it: "I wanna learn English singles/And go burn English cities/I gotcha: big giant flaws." Scott writes for her voice's urgency and quirks, too: in "Absolutely Anything," when she sings "it's risen from the page," she gives "page" five syllables and a British accent, so it can hover above the cloud of dust the band is kicking up. And when she turns her attention to relationships and their difficulties, she's both elliptical and stingingly pointed — the punch line of "Should I Tell You" goes "You can't talk here: there's girls everywhere."