The 10 songs on Brightblack Morning Light's eponymous second album are more like one long song broken into sections. Starting with the lightly funky, slyly snaky "Everybody Daylight," Brightblack Morning Light proceeds through an extended mediation on communing with the Earth in the Native American way. The songs, which have titles like "A River Could Be Loved," "Amber Canyon Magik," and "Black Feather Wishes Rise," all hold to the same slow-drip pace and echoing sound, filled up with gospel piano, rattling percussion, and occasional surprising snatches of trumpet. The record aims to be the A Love Supreme of whispery, lo-fi drone-rock, only its spiritual flowering is much more low-key than John Coltrane's.
Brightblack Morning Light's co-founders, Nathan Shineywater and Rachael Hughes, grew up making music together in Alabama. They were discovered by fellow traveler Will Oldham, who led them to Northern California, where the duo settled in a rural cabin and began organizing events for the nascent "freak folk" scene. The band's personal journey suffuses its presentation, from the self-promotion (Shineywater and Hughes describe themselves as "homeless," a politically loaded and inaccurate term), to the musical style that resembles Low or Galaxie 500, only with a thick streak of spooky Americana.
What Brightblack Morning Light lacks, though, is a sense of focus. That may seem like an odd criticism to level at a band and an album that doesn't vary its approach from track one to track 10, but Brightblack Morning Light never makes any definitive statement, or achieves any kind of catharsis. The last song—"We Share Our Blanket With The Owl"—is no more or less resounding than anything that came before. The album ends where it began, with hushed anticipation.