Don’t be discouraged by the lackluster cover art, a watery-looking band photo topped with the album title in scribbly font–San Francisco’s Brilliant Colors triumphantly deliver ten noise-pop nuggets on their debut album Introducing Brilliant Colors. Taking cues from C86-era British outfits like The Shop Assistants and The Flatmates, singer/guitarist Jess Scott layers pretty (but not afraid to be fierce) female vocals under plenty of reverb and fuzzy guitar. Diane Anastasio (drums) and Michelle Hill (bass) anchor Scott’s buried vocals and blissed-out guitar wash with their combination of tight, rhythmic beats and hooky bass lines. My favorite track on the album, “English Cities,” blends edgy and angular guitar pop in equal proportions, suitable for both disaffected former riot grrrls and postpunk DJs alike. Other standout tracks include “Short Sleeves at Night” (my vote for indie pop song title of the year) and “Over There,” the latter reminding me that you should never need more than two or three chords to write a great song.
Comparisons to fellow contemporary C86-inspired ladies the Vivian Girls will undoubtedly crop up for Brilliant Colors. While both bands employ similar sound textures and production styles (think Creation Records circa 1991), Brilliant Colors’ songwriting prowess stands out amongst the other Girls. Beneath all the echo and fuzz you still need a well-crafted melody to keep the listener engaged, and Brilliant Colors get this. Introducing Brilliant Colors is an impressive full-length debut.