There’s something undeniably catchy about Brilliant Colors‘ version of the female-fronted bubblegum sorta-punk trafficked by Best Coast, as well as the Dum Dum and Vivian Girls. The distortion, hooks, lo-fi mentality, and sharp, staccato bursts are all there, but it’s a couple of years late, and the sound has since worn a little thin. It needs something extra to create the same panache. The 11 tracks on their sophomore record, Again and Again, compromise a brief sugar high clocking in at just under 30 minutes, the totality of the album a fun, slightly too tame summer listen.
From the onset of album opener “Hey Dan”, lead vocalist Jess Scott sounds a tad nonplussed, half-mumbling her light vocals over a swampy, layered lo-fi pop jam. This sort of laid-back delivery can be charming, as on harmony-laden, punch-drummed “Value Lines”. However it can also push past its intended purpose, drowning into lax nothingness, as on the languid, long-winded “How Much Younger”. For a song that lasts less than three minutes in a genre renowned for quick, short melodies, the song lags, stretching past dreamy and into frustrating.
The lush, lo-fi layers of “‘Round Your Way” throb with earnest longing. Shimmering drums and clanging guitar tones wrap the whole song in a glowing fury for a while, but, eventually, the whole thing begins to collapse under its own weight. The added layers often fail to achieve any sort of hypnotic psychedelia, and instead force a simple pop song into a messy, heavy track that loses its own purpose.
The simple “Back To The Tricks”, ironically enough, returns to a simpler formula, one more reticent of their debut, Introducing-, and is unwilling to do anything but rush straight ahead. This song collapses as well, but into a feed-back laden, crushed mess, rather than a conflagrated, overwrought bigness. In the end, the attempt at enlarging the small-scale of the genre falls flat.