Brighter Later's new single 'Brace' is out now.
Melbourne outfit Brighter Later have appeared, fully formed, as a hauntingly original new voice in Australian music. The project of frontwoman/songwriter Jaye Kranz and her collaborators, their 2013 album The Wolves drew rapt praise here and overseas for its 'dreamy brilliance' (HCM) and half-lit intimacy. The Music described the lp, a 'subdued blend of lo-fi indie-folk and dream pop,' as 'nothing short of a masterpiece'.
Recently, the album caught the attention of Martha Wainwright who handpicked the band to support her on her national Australian tour. They played a special one-off show with Calexico (USA). The LP, which was featured Album Of The Week on Triple R & PBS FM,also earnt them a nomination for the prestigious Australian Music Prize (AMP), and a nomination for Best Emerging Artist in the 2013 The Age/Music Victoria Awards.
Brighter Later's sound doesn’t lend itself to easy categorisations. It has certain musical antecedents — the hazy swoon of Mazzy Star, the breathy spell of early Cat Power, the haunting, narcotic beauty of Low, 'an earthier Sigur Ros' (Weekly Review), even 'the gentler side of The Velvet Underground' (OrangePress) — but it sits firmly in its own world. Though only one album in, Brighter Later have found a sound that is indelibly theirs: expansive, cinematic and aching in equal measure. They manage to leave none of this behind when they take to the stage. 'On record, the sensuality of the songs, the spectral soundscape and transcendent world generated is one thing, but attempting to relay the sentiment live, well, suffice to say, that’s another,' Rhythms Magazine wrote. 'Yet they achieve it, time and time again.'
Despite no engineering or producing experience. Kranz took the DIY approach and self-produced their debut, setting up a studio in her home-cum-converted church in Melbourne’s west. Being a neophyte had its challenges, but it also allowed her a certain amount of freedom: 'One of the advantages was not even having a rule book to throw out,' Kranz says. They have emerged with an album that doesn’t sound like a self-produced record any more than it sounds like a band’s debut. It’s an intoxicating, enveloping piece of music –– 'an elegantly arranged universe .. with carefully laid hooks working slow magic' (Rolling Stone).
The band includes long-time collaborator and bass player Virginia Bott; programmer Patrick Dunn and drummer Sean Albers. The full live line-up expands to Shane O’Mara, Simon Bailey (Pony Face), Daniel Marsh (Human Face) & Cameron Potts (Montero, Ninety-Nine).
The album's single, The Woods, out now on Gaga Digi, begins with a sprightly, wordless chant before retreating into a spare and stately mid-section, Kranz coaxing out gorgeous hooks over a pared back arrangement that builds to a luminous finale, the reprised chant recalling the best moments of Beach House. The swooning All the Great Lakes is built on a slow, undulating melody, Kranz's silvery voice emerging above a bed of gauzy harmonies, synths and reverbed guitar to gently devastating effect, 'like a hymn summoned dimly from a dream' (Doug Wallen, Mess+Noise].
Second single Come and Go begins with just an acoustic guitar and Kranz's multi-tracked voice, the spry verse melody giving way to a lush and rousing chorus.
In 2014, Brighter Later returned with the rousing, cinematic new single ‘Brace’, the follow up to The Wolves. Earlier in the year, Kranz returned to her studio, a repurposed church in Melbourne’s west, with members of the Brighter Later live band, to record new material. ‘Brace’ is the first song to emerge from those sessions, and represents an intriguing new direction for Kranz.
The new single radiates a crystalline brightness, its patient but exhilarating build accented by subtle electronic touches that were present on The Wolves, but come to the forefront on ‘Brace’. The song opens with muted synth, an icy guitar figure and the singular instrument that is Kranz’s voice, backed by spare programmed drums. As Kranz sings, ‘How can I get to you?’, electronic flourishes ebb at the margins, strings joins the fray, and the song gathers pace, surging toward a climax that represents a thrilling aural equivalent of Kranz’s tale of intoxication, absorption, falling.
Lyrically, Brace is Kranz’s most spacious effort yet. The singer’s argent vocals come and go between sweeping instrumental stretches, giving each line more weight, but also allowing the music a dynamic intensity that communicates the headlong feeling of the lyrics with a singular power, without a hint of melodrama. The result is a thoroughly intoxicating piece of music, one that retains the immersive quality of Brighter Later’s earlier songs, while lighting out for new territory.
Though written and produced by Kranz, ‘Brace’ was a more collaborative effort than usual, with all but one member of the Brighter Later live band –– Simon Bailey (Pony Face), Shane O’Mara, Virginia Bott, Dan Marsh (Human Face), Patrick Dunn and Cameron Potts –– contributing to the song, along with composer and experimental electronic producer Ned Beckley (Lower Spectrum), who provided the song’s deft string arrangements. The song was mixed and mastered by Andy Stewart at his Gippsland studio.
Brace is out now on Gaga Digi.