Bern and the Brights: Work
Sometimes really good musicians fall into the trap of compressing their sound to fit the cassette flat lo-fi doldrum that today’s undiscerning ears consider classic or retro. Bern and the Brights stand as crusaders against this pifall, fleshing out their latest release, Work, with crisp, clean, and superbly balanced tracks—a historically defining facet of their music.
Though Work is sonically similar to their previous releases, maintaining soulful Roots-y songbird vocals, the band accents their growth, discarding the sweeping violin hooks and unaltered acoustic guitar from Swing Shift Maisies for healthier, clean crunch lead lines, supported by horns, synth fills, and beautifully layered vocals, traded off between the band’s front-women, Bernadette Malavarca and Catherine McGowan. Work is, honestly, very clearly Bern and the Brights—they don’t sound like a new or different band, but like matured musicians. Like seeing a friend from high school again in your mid-twenties, you recognize the friend without question, even though there are quantifiable differences in their appearance: their hairstyle, a few pounds maybe, how they carry themselves.
The authority of this grown tone is a solid punch that says, “We’ve been busy, we’ve seen a lot and have so much to tell you,” but most importantly says, “We’ve done work.”