Returning to fine form
Charlie Brock
17:15 22nd September 2021

Public Service Broadcasting return to fine form on their latest offering Bright Magic. A trilogy in itself (Building A City/Building A Myth/Bright Magic), this album transports the listener to Berlin, arguably Europe’s cultural capital and the beating heart of European electronic music. 

Bright Magic opens to grandiose effect, drawing the listener in with slow burning instrumental that builds and builds to a brooding crescendo. The project by PSB is such a wondrous one: they are masters at understanding a theme and building epic soundscapes...Bright Magic takes you on a journey through Berlin rather than describing it to you with metaphors.

Bright Magic reflects Berlin in a number of separate ways: the constant hum of the album gives you an image of a city that is never still, from bustling metropolis to underground clubs and bars—PSB are able to capture this energy perfectly. 

‘Der Rhythmus Der Maschinen’ is remarkably groovy, sampling industrial noises and building up pulsating beats with drum machines, guitar and synths. Public Service Broadcasting are a band like no other in how they build epic tracks piece by piece, weaving a musical tapestry. 

‘People, Lets Dance’ is another suitably dancy and groovy cut, while 'Blue Heaven' stands out as one of the more ‘conventional’ tracks on the album—the simplicity of Andreva Casablanca’s vocals over fuzzy-sounding guitar and drums is a welcome addition to an album that has, up to this point, been mostly electronic. The track plays out like a festival banger; you can see the arms in the air already. 'Blue Heaven' is a euphoric indie pop banger, right in the middle of an otherwise complicated and introspective electronic album. And it sounds perfect. 

The complication and introspection returns post-haste with 'Gib mir das Lich'. It’s a track that sounds reflective of Berlin in a way other Brits have captured previously, specifically Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’. 'The Visitor' is a cut that is supremely dramatic, using piano and synths to create a sense of tension. This tension quickly dissipates as the track grows into a track that sounds like a sunrise taking place—the sort of music that conjures a big smile. 

Bright Magic begins to draw to a close as it opened, with Public Service Broadcasting spinning tales without words, only instruments. 'Lichtspiel II: Schwarz Weiss Grau' is a real highlight of the record, inescapably catchy and off beat, it's the track from this album that has been spinning around my head the most.

Bright Magic is a superb effort from PSB, continuing their seemingly unending purple patch. 

Bright Magic arrives 24 September via Play It Again Sam.

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Photo: Press