- Artist: Brighton MA
- Format: CD
- Release Date:8/12/2008
'Every once in a great while you'll hear a new band that, in some way or another, reaffirms your love of music, your adoration for history and your admiration for artists who find splendor in the simplest of notes, phrases or progressions. Brighton, MA does just that.' -Tom Lynch (New City Chicago) Brighton MA hails from Chicago IL, which could, at first glance, seem confusing. They take their name from singer Matthew Kerstein's birthplace, evoking the idea of all sorts of homes you can never go back to (even as the four band members build their own home within the name.) This is a fundamental element in Kerstein's layered lyrics-they're steeped in a history that remembers the past, only in as much as it informs the present. Following up their 2007 debut six track, self-titled EP (also on Loose Tooth), Amateur Lovers marks the band's first full-length record and a step forward in the band's evolution, both in terms of songwriting and execution. Kerstein, guitarist Jim Tuerk, bassist Devon Bryant and drummer Sam Koentopp collaboratively elaborate on and grow Kerstein's songs, adding warm arrangements and finding ways to make each twist and turn feel natural and familiar. From the buttery summer of 'Your Sweet Time' to the hissing winter of 'The Flood', from the insistent soul glam of 'Underground' and the exuberant evolution walk-through in 'Eskimos', the band stretches themselves to the edge to find out what can be built to last. There, Kerstein sings: 'You know there's a sense of time/Whispers in the back of your Holy Roman Mind of all the places left behind/To begin something new.' Narratively, Amateur Lovers expertly explores the dichotomy between learned knowledge and history, and the reflection of what one can take from one's experiences-what it all means. There's struggle, there's confusion, there's growth and redemption, and an underlying hope for the future based on holding fast to a sense of love and fun throughout one's journey, despite one's amateur heart. It's about pressing on and trying to untangle yourself from all of the things that pin you down, shifting mid-album from a lightness to a darkness. Brighton, MA formed in 2006 following Kerstein, Bryant and Koentopp's departure from The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. After adding Tuerk, who had been a contributor to their previous band, the band toured on their EP (playing with such great bands as Elvis Perkins, We Are Scientists, The Wrens, Apostle Of Hustle, Mason Jennings, The Slip, Isobel Campbel, Tilly & The Wall, Langhorne Slim, the Essex Green, Page France, Tapes 'n Tapes, Frightened Rabbit, Dax Riggs, Man Man, and the French Kicks) until going into three different Chicago locations to realize Amateur Lovers: Clava on the south side of town, Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio, and Brighton MAnor, aka the band's house in Lincoln Square. Recorded by Jonathan Raymond and Devon Bryant, mixed by Devon Bryant and Tim Eisler at Soma, mastered by Bob Weston and produced by Devon Bryant. Just about everything was tracked live, and if you listen closely, you can sense the warmth and comfort of the band's living room and kitchen. With an ear in the past, the band continues to write and work in Chicago, maintaining a clear vision of their own brand of rock and roll. 'The songs are animated by a palpable feeling of longing and postadolecent world-weariness; they're perfect soundtrack songs waiting for a story.' -Miles Raymer (Chicago Reader) 'By whatever name he chooses to operate under, Kerstein is an emerging singer/songwriter in an established syle who is well worth watching.' -All Music Guide.
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