News Brightener

Michelle Kambasha profiles Californian Will Sturgeon’s all-thrills solo project.


: Brightener
Based: LA, California.
Similar to: The Strokes, Wild Nothing, Real Estate

Will Sturgeon makes music under the moniker Brightener (as christened by a fan who said that he brightened up his day). He’s based in sunny pastures of Los Angeles, California and creates music that’s dipped and twisted in a blinding glow. These three lines are folded into a neat extended metaphoric triangle that are presented to us in the form of music. Everything just fits.

His recent past wasn’t so glimmering though. After the initial shock of entering the ‘real world’, he wound up in a ‘post college haze’ manifesting itself through a dead end part-time job in a dildo factory. He soon realised that this Dickensian-industrial-tale-meets-the-sex-world type factory work wasn’t for him. And while a few events could have meant him falling into an early 20s existential crisis (long distance friendships and end of a relationship), he didn’t – instead he found Brightener.

His music doesn’t seem to be cathartic in a confessional way though; there is not hint that he was confounded by an inalienable sense of doom when he made his EP, ‘Make New Friends’. In fact, it sounds more like he was being pro-active in order to get his life into a positive space for creation. As a rule of thumb, the EP appears to be an ode to early 00s garage rock – but it isn’t pastiche. Tracks like ‘Echoes’ with its Beach House style loop in the backdrop, have very L.A. tinge to them, contrasting the post-industrial city sound of The Strokes. Still, while there are obvious comparisons to the current dream-pop scene, it has to be said that Brightener packs a bit more of a visceral punch than some of his colleagues.

Tags: Brightener, Neu

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