Album Review: Bern and the Brights – Swing Shift Maisies EP

By on Tuesday, 31st August 2010 at 2:00 pm

I introduced you all to North Jersey’s Bern and the Brights a short time ago. They have an EP out now called ‘Swing Shift Maisies’, which was released in earlier this year. According to guitarist/backing vocalist and band spokeswoman Catherine McGowan, this four-track release is their first with everyone in the five-piece band on it. And it’s a great ‘first kiss’ from a band that I think could do very well this year.

It starts with ‘Boo’, lead singer Bernadette Malavarca’s vocals are soulful and jazzy against the backdrop of warm violin and militant rhythm courtesy of Nicole Scorsone and Jose Ulloa, respectively. Now, violins in the British charts aren’t that unusual in these post-Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons folky days, but America could use some nudging in the folk direction.

The start of the next track, ‘Sangria Peaches’, sounds a bit hoedown but it slightly changes direction with Malavarca’s staccato delivery and driving instrumentation underneath it all. Now that I’ve taken up bass, I have a better appreciation for the rhythm section and how important it is to make a great track. And this one is a good ‘un.

‘Sleepless Aristotle’ is a great showcase for Malavarca’s voice, soaring above the engaging melody. Closing out the EP is an even more appealing number. Called ‘It Goes Like That’, it features the lyrics “I’m on the verge of something great”. Couldn’t have said it better myself.


‘Swing Shift Maisies’ by Bern and the Brights can be purchased from Amazon.

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