Many Bright Things (Lone Starfighter 1996, 1998, LSD/006)
From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)
This was one of the albums that led me towards writing the Texas Psych-out article. Never mind that I later discovered the band is really from Indianapolis! (Only the issuing label is in Texas.) It's funny, but the style of psychedelia on this one lays right in the Texas tradition. But what the hey? Who cares where they're from...the music is really cool. Many Bright Things is a band (?) with two main protagonists (Stan Denski and Ray Pierle) and a guest guitarist (Larry DeMyer) on one track. Both Denski and Pierle are versatile instrumentalists, sharing guitar and bass duties, but with Denski solely providing the vocals and Pierle the drums. I believe the LP came out a few years' back - this CD reissue also includes three bonus tracks which up the total time to a full hour.
The three-part epic musical rendition of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" opens with a female voice reading what I can only imagine is prose originally penned by Shakespeare in the work of the same name. But a majority of the twenty-minutes is just total psychedelic madness with an eastern flavor (there's that sitar sound again). "When the Night" is an excellent piece of work, a 10-minute shamanistic tribal romp featuring successive wah-wah and e-bow guitar solos. Here, Denski's vocals are chant-style and oddly engaging. "Lazy River Blues" is a cover of an old Jon Uzonyi (of Peace Pipe and The Human Equation) tune, though it seems to hearken all the way back to the Robert Johnson delta blues style. MBT adds their own touch to the music though, with the 'tremelo-style vocals' and a particularly intriguing bubbly guitar sound. "4 AM" is a Denski solo signature piece, which could very easily be a Jimmy Page composition for acoustic guitar (a la "White Summer"). I really like this sort of thing when done well, and this one ranks very high. The bonus tracks don't add too much to the original album, though are well worth a listen. "Loop Jam #2" is undoubtedly a bit of fooling around in the studio one day while the tape was rolling, pleasant enough whether 'finished' or not.
From the photos on the back cover, I can tell these guys have been around for awhile and no doubt have recorded things in the past, whether as a unit or separately. I enjoyed this effort and want to seek out more of their work. And now that I realize the band resides in Indiana (just a few hours west of the AI home base), the possibility of researching their past history seems more feasible. So watch this space for more info on this talented duo.
Available through Lone Starfighter Records. Click here to visit their web site.
Reviewed by Keith Henderson