Bright Curse sets a more adventurous course for their second full-length album. Time of the Healer is rooted in the blues fuzz style last seen on 2016’s Before the Shore and 2013’s self-titled EP, but the songs reach for ten-minute runtimes and pack themselves full of more experimental elements. The liberal inclusion of flute and trumpet on select songs helps shake things up and the Songs for the Deaf-style channel changes between tracks gives a cinematic aura to an otherwise straightforward style.
Despite extensive lineup shuffles, the musicianship sufficiently lives up to the rising ambition. Adding a second guitarist certainly works in the band’s favor, allowing them to weave during the more psychedelic segments and give the distorted riff work even more weight. The vocals also have a Kyuss-style headstrongness, and the rhythm section puts in a mix of tightness and flexibility. There may be a lot of tracks based around jamming around, but you can tell that a lot of thought went into these arrangements.
Speaking of arrangements, the longest songs do end up being the best of the lot as each manages to offer its own distinct flavor beyond meandering jams. “Smoke of the Past” is a gradually trickling slow burn, “Shadows” stands out for its doomier transitions and midway sarcasm, and the title track closes things out with a more active riff set and trippy atmospherics toward the end. The two shorter songs are also well put together, I can appreciate the French-driven “Une Viree” in particular, but the ideas they put forth may be better executed in their longer form counterparts.
Much like The Devil and the Almighty Blues or All Them Witches, Bright Curse is the sort of blues fuzz band that has more going on than the jammed out presentation would suggest. The almost conceptual layout gives the arrangements a greater sense of scale and the widened instrumentation never goes overboard. I find myself hoping that they play up the jazz influences even more in the future. They made some cool stuff before, but Time of the Healer is where Bright Curse has become something truly noteworthy.
“Smoke of the Past”
“Time of the Healer”