Release Date: Nov 3, 2009
Record label: Slumberland
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
I once had a co-worker who swore by short albums. His rationale was that, on a truncated album, bands usually brought their very best songs to the table. Citing Pearl Jam’s recent Backspacer as an example – the album only runs about 36 minutes – he also felt that short albums meant that the artist in question didn’t have to resort to adding extra verses or bridges just to pad out a record’s running time.
Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, Introducing, Brilliant Colors' 2009 debut, flits by like a will-o'-the-wisp. It's just enough time to get a decent impression of what the band has to offer: refreshingly raw yet smart indie pop, reminiscent of old-school New Zealand indie pop acts (the Chills, the Bats) and the puckish side of C-86 (Talulah Gosh). At their strongest, Brilliant Colors are gutsy and tender, nocturnal and innocent -- a spine-tingling blend of pop-oriented fizz and punk-influenced grit.
Slumberland Records has maintained a recognizable aesthetic for most of its 20 years in existence. From the earliest Velocity Girl singles to last year's Pains of Being Pure at Heart full-length, its records share an affinity for washes of reverb, bubblegum melodies, and shoestring-budget production. Even their most recent records have an aged patina to them, as if every album they were ever going to release was recorded in the late 1980s.
Musicians have been ripping off each other since, well, ever. So, when I put in the Brilliant Colors disk and heard Absolutely Anything, a track that sounds exactly like Nena’s 99 Luftballoons, I wasn’t surprised. I was just annoyed—annoyed that this track was the only track on the album that sounded markedly different from any of the other tracks.