I have always had a soft spot for a bit of heavy French psychedelia, and Soul Manifest were very good exponents of that with their doomy, out there riffs. They split and two of their numbers (Romain Daut on guitar, Peruvian flute and vocals + Sammy Deveille on bass and double bass) decamped to London. In 2012 they met up with like-minded souls Tommy Foster (guitar) and Mark Buckwell (drums) to form heavy psych trio Bright Curse. They released a self-titled EP in 2013 and a full album, Before the Shore in 2016 which took Soul Manifest’s ethos and upped it a few degrees by injecting even more heavy riffs and extended workouts. Now they have a new album called Time Of The Healer, which is five tracks and forty odd minutes of light doom, riffs, and (as you might guess with a Peruvian flute listed among the instruments) oodles of psyche.
The first of three ten-minute plus tracks, ‘Smoke of the Past’ opens proceedings with sound effects and then guitar and bass in harmony with a gentle picked chord overlaid with said flute that effectively builds atmosphere, the vocals come in to begin a story that, loosely, carries across all of the tracks… I think! Imagine Percy Plant’s solo stuff mixed with Tull (and not just because of the flute… Barre could be playing) and when the hefty riff cuts in, it all being covered by Budgie… don’t think its finished as after more effects and the opening music for the old Thames TV programmes, there’s a short song within a song that is worth waiting for. ‘Laura’ and ‘Une Virêe’ are the shorter songs, the first is Moontan era Golden Earring with a trumpet! The second, with a title that means a jaunt or spree, is a spoken (in French) interlude of gentle guitars and a superb solo of simplicity and invention.
‘Shadows’ and the title track are back to ten-minute epics. The first is a touch Floydian, but with attitude and Sabbath overtones. It’s an exercise that needs careful listening to appreciate the depth and skills on display; particularly the scope of the guitar. The second is Earring, Budgie and Beggars Opera in a glorious mix of psyche approaching prog and all with a coned trumpet! The percussion section may wash over some but it is a fascinating interlude that the late 60’s would be proud of. Importantly, it has a weight and fabulous guitar phrasing throughout that transcends any compartment you try and put this band into.All of the tracks have long fades with effects and (possibly) some point that escapes me… they sound like someone twiddling the knob (ooh err, missus) on an old transistor radio… they’re entertaining though.
This a brilliant slice of rock with a genuine difference, I loved every minute. Try it, give it a chance and you may love it too. Time Of The Healer by Bright Curse is officially released on 10th May 2019 on Ripple Music.