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Bright Ideas

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Portastatic's Bright Ideas might just be their best record yet. Seeing as how the track record of Mac McCaughan's group is scattered with nothing but low-key gem after gem, that is high praise. It is the first full album he has released since his main band, Superchunk, went into the clichéd realm of indefinite hiatus, and while only Mac knows if any of these songs could have ended up as Superchunk songs, if they had the record they appeared on would have been hailed as a triumphant return to form. Not that they really ever slumped anywhere except in the eyes of the indie press. Those are really side issues though because all that really matters here is how wonderful Bright ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Portastatic's Bright Ideas might just be their best record yet. Seeing as how the track record of Mac McCaughan's group is scattered with nothing but low-key gem after gem, that is high praise. It is the first full album he has released since his main band, Superchunk, went into the clichéd realm of indefinite hiatus, and while only Mac knows if any of these songs could have ended up as Superchunk songs, if they had the record they appeared on would have been hailed as a triumphant return to form. Not that they really ever slumped anywhere except in the eyes of the indie press. Those are really side issues though because all that really matters here is how wonderful Bright Ideas is. Broken into equal parts introspective and beautiful ballads and jumping rockers, the record is at once lively as heck and full of poetic insight. It feels like the product of a teenage heart and an adult with kids mind. As usual the music as played by a core group of fellow Superchunker Jim Wilbur on bass and Matthew McCaughan on drums is tighter than Tim Duncan on the free throw line during the NBA finals. McCaughan's vocals are pushed to the point of breaking, though he is able to apply the brakes now and then, and his lyrics are intimate, always interesting, and often hilarious. Basically everything you've come to expect from a McCaughan product but with some slight improvements. Songs like "Little Fern" and "I Wanna Know Girls" are more tender than anything McCaughan has issued while up-tempo rockers like "Through With People" and "The Soft Rewind" are as peppy and catchy as anything the Chunk ever did. Head and shoulders above everything is the awesome "Truckstop Cassettes," an elegiac tale of a love-struck and life-changing road trip set to a calmly rolling rhythm caressed by a melancholy violin, acoustic guitars and bass, cheap keyboards, and Mac's sweet-as-cherry-pie vocals. When his best songs are rounded up, it will be right up near the front with the likes of "Driveway to Driveway," "My Noise," and "Hello Hawk." The simple fact that Mac continues to release solid albums after so many years of writing and recording is impressive. That he is still releasing records as sparkling, emotionally involving, and memorable as Bright Ideas is nothing short of miraculous.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/23/2005
  • Label: Merge Records
  • UPC: 036172956326
  • Catalog Number: 263
  • Sales rank: 227,143

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bright Ideas - Mac McCaughan (5:17)
  2. 2 Through with People - Mac McCaughan (3:15)
  3. 3 White Wave - Mac McCaughan (3:50)
  4. 4 I Wanna Know Girls - Mac McCaughan (4:56)
  5. 5 Little Fern - Mac McCaughan (3:15)
  6. 6 Truckstop Cassettes - Mac McCaughan (4:53)
  7. 7 The Soft Rewind - Mac McCaughan (3:53)
  8. 8 Registered Ghost - Mac McCaughan (4:19)
  9. 9 Center of the World - Mac McCaughan (4:06)
  10. 10 Full of Stars - Mac McCaughan (3:48)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Portastatic Primary Artist
Danny Pearson Upright Bass
Mac McCaughan Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Group Member
Tim Mooney Drums
Jim Wilbur Bass, Bass Guitar, Group Member
Jason Borger Piano, Electric Piano
Genevieve Gagon Violin
Matt McCaughan Drums, Background Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Mac McCaughan Composer
Dave A. Harris Mastering
Tim Mooney Engineer
Neil Farber Cover Painting
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