Round about and round about and round about we go

I really liked the last Crystal Bright album. Muses and Bones was a breakneck dash brimming with a wide variety of sounds. I'd heard all the pieces before, but not stirred up with such vigor. After such a whirlwind romance, though, the question of staying power remains.

Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands
The Absolute Elsewhere

The Absolute Elsewhere is relatively more contemplative. These songs still whirl and delight, but there are some quieter moments in between the dramatic climaxes. And, yes, this album impresses just as much.

Bright draws on eastern European folk music, klezmer, Appalachian holler folk and a whole lotta gypsy tradition. So there's plenty of syncopated acoustic guitar, a generous dose of accordion, ethereal belted hooks (um, you read that right) and plenty of horns. These songs have a spinning motion, and I find it nearly impossible to stay still when I hear them.

Again, I'm most impressed by the quieter moments. There's no question about her strength, but Bright's strong, expressive voice is flexible enough to convincingly convey fear and doubt. This album is a richer and fuller experience.

The growth in her songwriting is wonderful. Instead of simply channeling her influences, Bright is coming much closer to creating her own sound. My infatuation is turning into something much deeper, and that's all for the good.

Jon Worley

return to A&A home page