NYC-based artist Alice BrightSky has a beautiful voice that, when combined with some perfect instrumentation, creates several stunning moments on her first LP, a collection of songs six years in the making.
BrightSky manages to bring together some melodic folk-rock, combines it with her soft, delicate vocals and manages to surpass and impress the listener to no end. Throw in a guest appearance from a pre-Lana Del Rey, Lizzie Grant as she is originally known, on backing vocals on ‘Lover’s Fate’, and you’ve even got the ‘celeb factor’.
Starting with, ‘Enter This World‘, the Alanis Morrisette comparisons can begin. Whilst the instrumentation and BrightSky’s strained vocals are reminders, the song itself doesn’t sound like a straight up cover, bringing in cello’s and a progressive drum beat, that create a uniquely sounding piece of music. Lyrics of ‘breaking hearts’ and being an ’embryo against the unborn’, refer to BrightSky’s love that she found in her six-year hiatus from music, and her child, recently born.
‘Pry Me Away’, reminds me a little bit of Florence + the Machine, with its chorus gaining a big, banging drum beat, to keep things ticking over. The fragile guitar riff is a great backdrop to the even more fragile vocals of BrightSky. The aforementioned, ‘Lover’s Fate’, is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and not just because of Lizzie Grant! It’s a song I want to hear again and again and again, with the cello complimenting BrightSky perfectly, even if the guitar may sound remarkably similar. To be honest, Grant isn’t entirely there all the time, but listen closely and you can hear the beginnings of the Lana Del Rey that we all know today.
A third of the way into the album, ‘I Am’, picks up the pace a bit, with a grungy-riff to progress the song forward. The Morrisette comparisons will return, as BrightSky says ‘I’m not as strong as he thinks I am’. A couple of minutes in, trumpets join the party and everything sounds a bit Latino! You literally couldn’t make it up. ‘Up Up and Away’, sounds a bit like a Lana Del Rey-demo, and the more I think, the more BrightSky’s and Grant’s vocals share remarkably similar qualities. They both have a fragile, but ultimately strong range, and are talented for sure. This song again needs you to listen in and see what BrightSky really wants you to get from the song, a tale of departed love (at least that’s what I thought!).
‘Troubled Upbringing’, is probably the first track I was a little bit lukewarm on, it seemingly rambling into oblivion. It’s not bad as such, it just has no real direction for me. I do enjoy BrightSky’s range and her femininity shines through in spades, with some higher vocals. ‘Girl You Hold Onto’ bursts back through into the positive, the ‘hmmmm’ and riff clicking with me straight away. Whilst some instrumentation may remain similar, the guitar for one, I like that new sounds are thrown in for good measure, the backing vocals being pretty prominent in this song, for example. It makes songs sound distinct and you can tell them apart, sometimes difficult for the casual folk-listener, such as myself.
Moving onto, ‘Tie and Untie’, and we see a calm, confident BrightSky, with a pacy riff to accompany herself on this journey of a song. It’s a gentle song that middles a bit of the way through, you expect a bit of a climax, but alas it does not come. ‘Canopy’, sounds like another relaxing tune, to rest to as the sun goes down, shame here in the UK we are now entering Autumn, as this makes me long for those types of Summer evenings! The jazzy riff, coupled with some awesome trumpets creates a pretty good climax. ‘Hold Me Down’ sounds like it should be a revenge song, but that doesn’t really materialize. This is another song I didn’t really click with, despite some nice harmonization halfway through, the back and forth with the male vocals is pretty nice though.
The last couple of songs, ‘Dry’ and ‘Box of Me’, are some of BrightSky’s best. The former is a slowburner but really worked for me, with it becoming a little bit repetitive over time, but a nice song to kick back to and relax, despite BrightSky’s tortured vocals. The titular ‘Box of Me’, was fun, for me. The funk influence really shone through, with the otherwise quiet instrumentation letting Alice’s vocals really take centre stage, it was a treasure of a song and a really subtly great way of bringing the album to a close.
So, overall, for a person like me, not really a massive fan of folk music, I found that this collection of songs was pretty compelling, there were a couple of misses in there for me, but on the whole I enjoyed listening to Alice BrightSky’s ‘Box of Me’.