The Connecticut music scene is a wealth of talent, inspiration and old fashioned hard work. Many of the bands currently releasing music are actively (constantly) gigging, and they're easy to find. Some of these artists are a little more elusive, and it takes a bit of archaeology to find them. Every so often, you kick over the right rock, and discover a truly great album. 'Brights On' is one of these hidden gems. Formed in 2020, Fjord Pony is drawn from a group of OG musicians, with all the musical strength to back up their bona fide music scene cred. Their newest release, 'Brights On', was recorded by Jesse Alford, Rick Ciervo and Craig Lundell, mixed by Rick Ciervo and mastered by Kevin Smith. This collection features brand new songs, written and recorded from 2021-2022, neatly packaged in this shiny new offering for your wondering ears.
'Brights On' rocks it straight out of the gate in "Always Right". With a gritty, grungy sound and cool rodeo slide guitar lines, this one will get you awake and listening. Vocalist Chris Wiedemann's effects here set the tone and foreshadow our journey along the album. The second track, "More Than a Name", swells up, deep and brooding, with Rick Ciervo's ghostly piano lines that compound the tension of the dark, foreboding sound.
"Driving the Moon" kicks in with a one-two punch and drummer Jesse Alford lays out the heaving, straightforward rhythm under a blanket of big, bold alternative rock flavor, before the album's vibe slows into "Then Again", breaking the mold with this mellow rock ballad, featuring retrospective lyrics and beautiful backing vocals, combined with John Monthei's pedal steel to round out the appropriately sparse instrumentation of the song.
"Amethysts" features sparkly chordal guitar lines that lift this one up above it's many influences and guitarists Chris Wiedemann and Rick Ciervo both go above and beyond in their skill, and creation of this sonic space.
The title track, the orchestral "Brights On" is at once upbeat, yet melancholy, and the indie alternative influence here is unmistakable. This is one of those rare songs that is greater than the sum of it's parts, yet simple enough to make a wide reach across genres.
The next track is Fjord Pony's cover of "Dreams" from Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album, and though it keeps tightly to the sound and feel of the original, Chris' lead vocal adds a different perspective and edge to the song.
"Year of the Skunk" is a swingy, nostalgic tune for the ages. It slaps with Michael Mongillo's rolling bass line, amid artfully delivered lyrics, harkening to an era of dancing and debauchery, cut short by a global shared reality. The only way to get this one out of your head is to sing along.... A lot. "Year of the Skunk" blends seamlessly into "Lottery, Liquor and the Lord" a piece that tickles the 90's bone with phaser-ed guitar, the chemistry of the wrong person at the right time, overflowing American vice and a big dose of irony.
"Close to the Bone" closes out the album with a more singer-songwriter sound, featuring a gorgeous guitar tone, the 'less is more' approach here makes the lead colorful and huge in contrast to the simple sounding arrangements, giving the vocal Melody a soft bed to lay upon.
'Brights On' is a great album for anyone who would rather be kicking a hackey sack than working the grind, and lovers of indie grunge, alternative and rock will love their sound. Fans of Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Wolfmother, take note, this album is tailor made for you. Fjord Pony performs sparsely, so you'll have to be on your toes to catch them, in the mean time, you can satisfy all your curiosities at their web home, here: http://www.fjordponyband.com/