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Dark Past

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Album Review

Brite Futures used to be called Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head and, much like their name, the music they played was silly and a little bit over the top. With the new name and a few years of growing up, the band has refined its goofy — sometimes too much so — approach into something much more immediate and unabashedly pop. Also, something much better. Their debut album as Brite Futures, Dark Past is a 30-minute blast of danceable, singalong-able good-time modern pop music that dares you not to smile from beginning to end. The songs bounce and groove with an energy that is impossible to ignore, the hooks and choruses are hugely hooky and chorusy, and almost every song sounds like a perfect world radio hit. Built around a limber rhythm section, wiry guitars, and cheesy synths, the band’s sound is light and tough at the same time, a simple but surprising blend of indie pop, new wave, and dance-pop that sounds like Daft Punk, Junior Senior, and Hellogoodbye all at the same time. Maybe some Black Kids too. A little Walter Meego, even if you don't remember them. Basically any band that blends insistent tempos, a healthy dose of goofiness, and a bit of tenderness into its party mix. A lot of bands that try this sound fall flat in the vocal department, but not Brite Futures. Co-lead vocalists and band founders Luke Smith and Shaun Libman trade off turns in the spotlight, each guy having an ideal snotty, spunky, and fun vocal style. Add in Claire England's sweet vocals and the singing is impressively powerful throughout. Honestly, though, everything from Smith's surehanded production down to the packaging is impressive. Dark Past features almost no seriousness, no moments of introspection, and an almost frightening amount of giddiness. It may not be for everyone, but if you like your pop perfectly meaning-free and as fun as possible, Brite Futures might be just what you are looking for.


Formed: 2010 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Brite Futures, formerly known as Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, play electro pop with a big wink. Classmates at the Seattle arts-focused high school the Center School, Luke Smith and Shaun Libman formed the group in 2005 around the only instruments they knew how to play at the time, keyboards and drum machines. By that December, fellow Center School mates David Price (keyboard/guitar/vocals) and Claire England (vocals/bass/keyboard) joined the lineup as the group played its first major gig, the grand...
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Dark Past, Brite Futures
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