The light fan­tas­tic: The Bright Light So­cial Hour

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS -

Af­ter re­leas­ing its self-ti­tled first al­bum, The Bright Light So­cial Hour swept the SXSW 2011 Austin Mu­sic Awards when it won Band of the Year, Al­bum of the Year, and Song of the Year. The group, which first formed as an art-rock band in 2004 at South­west­ern Univer­sity, plays neo-psy­che­delic rock with­out the ironic af­fec­ta­tions typ­i­cal of the genre. Caught in the hard-driv­ing, trance-in­duc­ing snare of its sec­ond al­bum, Space Is Still the Place, it would be easy to ap­proach the kind of tran­scen­den­tal mo­ment that ’60s mys­tics were search­ing for. Even though the song ti­tles in­clude “Slip­stream,” “Dreamlove,” “In­fi­nite Cities,” and “The Moon,” there is noth­ing light­hearted or hip­pie-trippy about the com­pli­cated in­stru­men­ta­tion and care­fully at­tuned ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. The mu­sic whirls and echoes but never loses its edge. Catch the Santa Fe leg of the North Amer­i­can tour at Sky­light (139 W. San Fran­cisco St.) on Tues­day, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m., with open­ing band Sun Dog. Tick­ets, $14 in ad­vance, are avail­able from www.hold­myt­; it’s $17 at the venue. — J.L.

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