Bright and Vivid is a step in a new direction for New Pornographers member Kathryn Calder. This is her second solo album, and compared to her first, 2010's Are You My Mother?, it is clear that Ms. Calder is experimenting-- and quite successfully-- with different sounds and eclectic rhythms. She has moved significantly from the cozy but safe Regina-Spektor feel to a slightly more daring approach within the world of female indie artists. The disc is full of echoic guitar plucking, and lovely vocals add an overall dreamy tone to it.
Calder has done a wonderful job mixing a far-off, starry-night feel and a higher-paced synth-pop vibe. On a close listen, you can try to dissect the numerous sounds exuding from the stereo, including tambourine, French horn, violin, cello, mandolin and even hand claps. It is not exactly clear what each song is about, and in this, the listener is left to envisage quite a bit, perhaps playing more off the music than the lyrics, challenging the imagination.
This is surely not an album for those who appreciate well-enunciated lyrics and the "verse, chorus, verse" song structure, but if you happen to need an indie soundtrack for a creative gathering with your friends, this is definitely an album to anticipate.