Stepping from the world of anthropology and education to a stage permeating a twist of gypsy/jazz and pop, Crystal Bright And The Silver Hands have recently released their second hauntingly captivating album, The Absolute Elsewhere. The North Carolina singer/songwriter, Crystal Bright, showcases her immense knowledge in various genres of music in her material—from working with the North Carolina symphony to performing in musical theatre to the multiple instruments she’s picked up over the years, Crystal’s music proves her eclectic tastes and talents.
In 2010, Crystal Bright And The Silver Hands released their debut, self-titled album, which is similar to their new material. The singer and her band seem to pride themselves on their unique mixture of styles. The 34-year-old musician continues to serenade her audiences with melodious tunes and keep them on their toes with her mashing of different harmonies and new instrumental groupings. She also surprises listeners with her ability to write poetic lyrics in a language other than English, as seen in her Spanish piece, “Bajando La Luna.”
This album, although just as distinctive as her first, seems to play more with elements of jazz and pop, as opposed to her typical gypsy/folk/rock twist with a hint of showtuney goodness. Crystal maintains the balance of exciting melodies and soulful lyrics, painting colorful pictures one would expect to see in an old black and white ghost film—listeners hardly ever know what to expect from her and it’s nearly impossible to replicate her almost goth/folk style, with her wide vocal range and knowledge of such a multitude of instruments. Even in The Absolute Elsewhere, there is a slight contrast between her songs, which can be entrancing.
The first song on the album, “The End,” opens with a band member plucking an acoustic guitar, then is quickly cut off by Crystal’s typical gypsy, waltz-like beat and vocals. It assumes a ghostly tune—ends of phrases ending on haunting notes, giving it a creepy, trapped feel. And the song following “The End,” “October,” picks up a jazzy turn, including a brass section; but the gypsy/folk swing jumps back in early in the piece. The two genres duel through the song—while Crystal sings, she backs the gypsy grove, but the short instrumental breaks battle with jazzy riffs, thanks to the trumpeter. The tiff between the different styles is sure to keep listeners’ ears open to the complexities of each piece of the song.
Crystal Bright And The Silver Hands present such a wide range of skill: their possibilities are endless and although they don’t incorporate harsh guitar solos and screaming matches between the lead singer and drummer, they have the ability to keep their listeners entranced and looking for more. And if you’re looking for deep, soulful, relevant lyrics to match with layers of complex melodies, The Absolute Elsewhere may just be the album for you.
In A Word: Unique