Bright Brown is Alex Nahas and Nick Smeraski. Both musicians play multiple instruments throughout the 2009 release, “No Matter How Faint There’s Light in Everything” an album comprising of ten tracks rich with hooky bass lines, pained vocals and layered keyboards.
Recorded and mastered in Brooklyn, New York, with the help of backup vocalists, Bethany Erickson, Sarah Nestel, and Nahas’s son Aurel Nahas, it contains lush, warm sounds and deeply personal lyrics.
Bright Brown started out as a solo project by Nahas in response to a post 9-11 world and his thoughts regarding his own identity as an Arab American living in a society with many barriers. Musically, Nahas takes a look at life’s complexities, tragedies, and hopes of the people who surround him. His wounded voice is vaguely reminiscent of Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner’s. Formerly of post rock band, Laughing Stock, he also plays a ten-stringed instrument called the Chapman Stick; allowing him to play simultaneous bass lines, chords, leads and rhythms, creating an atmosphere that sounds much bigger than it actually is.
Smeraski’s percussion is subtle and unified and fills in the landscape of the duo’s music perfectly. His approach is restrained and it works perfectly with the album’s earthy feel.
“No Matter” opens up with the anthem “Are You Listening?” It has a great bass line that provokes images of Chicago-based band, Dianogah.
“Dust Angel” is the second track, and one of my favorites. Lyrically, to me anyway, it’s a soliloquy of the failed American dream and trying to pick up the pieces in its wake.
Later in the album, “Moments in and Out of Traffic” has an Americana feel and the strings on the track are splashed with lots of delay, creating a dreamy texture to accompany Nahas’s lyrics.
Overall, I believe “No Matter How Faint” is a solid album and will undoubtedly impress those seeking introspective indie music with a tinge of rootsy-steeped American melodies.