Brighten is a band of sweet melodies, charming words, and humble beginnings. The trio, made up of brothers Justin and Jimmy Richards and Alex Draper, has been playing music together for around a decade and released their first EP in 2005. Flash forward to 2013 and Brighten hasn’t lost that calming sense of warm indie/pop. And odds are, as the band focuses more on promoting and continuing to release new music like their second full length album, Peace and Quiet, they’ll finally get the audience and attention they deserve.
Peace and Quiet was released in February of 2013 and plays upon Brighten’s unique blend of sweeping love songs and quirky, folkish influences. The first track, “I’ll Be There” could easily be the next great wedding song.
The record is a soaring love ballad that would come off as cheesy if it wasn’t so sincere. The falsetto kills, showing off Justin Richards’s range and talent. “I’ll Be There” is a track that has potential to be widely adored; it makes you believe in love and wish for it all the same.
Other standout tracks include “Little Locket” and “Never Alone”. Both take cues from folk tunes, playing up the soft plucking of an acoustic guitar and never loosing the lovable lyrics that Brighten fans cherish. “Never Alone” adds a constant drum beat from the first chorus on, giving the song a little boost and a Phillip Phillips like flair. “Little Locket” enlists a sweeping string section to accompany Justin Richards’s falsetto, creating a soothing listening experience. Fans of Ed Sheeran will want to add “Little Locket” and “I’ll Be There” to their list of songs to “awe” at.
Brighten takes to the road this summer with friends The Maine, A Rocket to the Moon, and This Century on the 8123 Tour. Lead signer Justin Richards moonlights as a touring member of ARTTM, but with their oncoming break-up, fans hope that Brighten will once again become Richards’s main project.
Brighten has the smallest set-list on the show, but it includes numbers such as “I’ll Be There”, “Never Alone” and older crowd pleasers. At this moment, with the tour only on its first leg, it is not certain if Brighten is playing a rotating set-list. Fans have shared their remembrance of the tunes played, one version has “Carolina” as an opener and another has “I’ll Always Be Around” as the last song strummed. No matter what songs are played, those unfamiliar with Brighten will get a chance to hear a different side of the group with each song presented.
“Carolina” breaks away from the softer sound that Peace and Quiet takes on. It’s a track from the 2007 EP, Easy Love. “Carolina” is an upbeat, poppy summer song. It’s ice cream on a warm summer day. It begs to be played with the windows down on a drive to the beach or walking on a boardwalk with the wind in your hair. “Carolina” is typical Brighten charm. Their songs have that fuzzy feeling of home, whether they were crafted in 2005 or 2013.
Brighten is a band to love and hang on to. They’re a band that needs attention. They promise good music with heart and an ever-growing cache of positive songs with emotion and sincerity.