I must admit something. I am a sucker for pop music…well, make that for GOOD pop music. A good, catchy, cleverly written pop song will make you dance around your living room, drive with the windows rolled down and the stereo turned up, and sing along like no one else is listening. When I listened to the new project Brighten Up!, I got that feeling.
Brighten Up! is the new project of Columbus, Indiana artist Nick Morrow. If you read this blog, you may remember my praises of his previous band Quick Said the Bird, and if you are familiar with the Bloomington music scene, you may know his talented younger brother Josh Morrow (Memory Map, Impure Jazz, TimeLove). Today he released Their Old Stuff Was Better, a three-song EP of demos he has been working on as of late. Although the EP is a rough mix of vocals, ukulele, samples, and sound distortion, it is dripping with potential for something great and fun. With a full band and some pro-recording, we could be jamming to these tunes by summer.
What I really love, is Morrow’s lively voice. I hear so much passion in his voice, someone who just loves to belt out a song whether or not the occasion calls for it. The music is full of hand-claps, tambourines, and bright, colorful uke riffs (can you riff on a uke?) that demand bopping from side to side and smiling when heard. The lyrics are rich with stories and life lessons and come at you relatively fast in both the original tunes “The Mexican Man of a Million Answers” and “Wesley Chapel Blvd.” The second song of the EP is a cover of the 90’s hit “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. It’s set to a kind of hip-hop style lounge back beat that reminds me of the Georgia streets I used to play in while listening to this song when I was a kid. It’s a charming cover of a positive song. Overall, this EP is a good start for a new project that shows potential. I’m curious to see what develops in the future.
Their Old Stuff Was Better is available as a digital download now on the Brighten Up! bandcamp page for only $2 (but you are welcome to donate more). The album artwork was designed by Andy J Miller, resident go-to guy for designing albums, posters, and merch for Columbus-based musicians and artists.