Washington has been breeding a lot of new noise in the last few years. With a heavily supportive DIY scene, many bands have been trekking on West Coast tours and bringing their particular flair for indie-rock to all willing to listen. One of the most exciting bands to appear from the newer breed of indie-tinged are Seattle, WA’s Newbrighton who came onto the scene with the release of their 2016 EP, Everything. All of It. It’s a slow burning EP that struck a balance between giant shoegazing riffs and straightforward rock tempo in the vein of later As Cities Burn. In the time following this release, they played around the state of Washington and embarked on a West Coast tour with recently split Counterbalance. A collaboration EP followed, and then the band went back to the shed to put together some newer material.
Their new self-titled release showcases a natural progression in lyrical maturity and overall confidence in delivery from vocalist/guitarist Cody Schuman. They open the album with a screamo/melodic-hardcore based strained vocal that examines their relationship with faith and belief on “Guillotine,” and they’re backed by a heavily textured soundscape provided by the rest of the band that builds to a dynamically loud section that could be found on a Nothing or Cloakroom record. The band then transitions into a softer territory with the sparkly lead riff from guitarist Jake Kelly on “All Red” which builds into a chaotic feeling in the chorus that is matched by the vocals and builds into a sinister bass led riff that opens its way to a dissonant breakdown to end the song.
This record also has a re-recording of their 2016 song “New” which has found a more tempered delivery and a lot more ambience to play with this time around. The post-rock influences definitely peek through on this track as a majority of it is used to set a mood which builds to a cathartic crescendo accompanied with an increasingly emotional vocal.
The last two tracks off the album are a well put together one-two punch as “Simon” has some of the more inventive ideas put forward by drummer John Jarman, between building large choruses with their walls of crashes and ghost notes littering the verses, filling in the spaces on the backbeat, they deliver a consistently driving pulse to the band which is most evident on album closer “Pegasus.” The final track is the most upbeat song on the album that is carried by a sixteenth note hi-hat shuffle which is matched note by note by both guitarists which opens to a large washing section where a DL-4 glitching provides the tension needed to carry the song into its final instrumental section that ends with a tapped harmony between the guitarists.
Newbrighton deliver a solid follow-up release that is big on mood and ambience and introduces a chaotic element that will appeal to a variety of listeners. I am very much looking forward to seeing what direction the band goes in as they continue to grow.