Bern & the Brights / Press

“(Montclair NJ, the jersey scene is as vibrant as it’s ever been and this is one of the bands leading the way)”

“Bern & The Brights display the promising future of DIY music on Swing Shift Maisies. Although all tracks go past the four-minute mark, the EP is a hearty work filled with indie and folk gold that never becomes redundant or boring. Swing Shift Maisies is a work that flows remarkably well, regardless of any style changes.”

“There were a few stand-out revelations for me. First, hearing Catherine McGowan sing. Hers is a powerful voice that I just never expected. I'd seen her play before, but never sing upfront like that. And the moments her voice combined with Bern's were magic. The two differed just enough to compliment each other perfectly.”

“Bern And The Brights “have a singer with a voice of scuffed antique silk, and musicians who can keep it simple and, most importantly, keep it affecting.””

“However, the biggest winners on the night might have been Montclair-based indie outfit Bern & The Brights, who took home two awards for People’s Choice and Outstanding Band. The three-year old ensemble mixes the whimsical sound of a violin with folk-driven electric and acoustic guitars, drums and bass.”

“It’s really wonderful when a band’s vocalist and their music are made for each other. Imagine that. Bern & The Brights are a very talented band that make original songs that are addictive and euphoric. The band’s new EP titled “Swing Shift Maisies” is a great example of the potential of this band. The EP consists of 4 songs: Boo, Sangria Peaches, Sleepless Aristotle and It Goes Like That. Sangria Peaches is a feel good song that beautifully intertwines the violin with the bass and drums with the guitars and the vocals. Everything comes together in a perfect sound. Sleepless Aristotle is a complex song that keeps you tapping your foot and listening for what happens next.”

“Bern & The Brights, an orchestral pop band that mixes violin and guitar into a potent combination of new-wave jangle and gypsy romanticism, were the big winners of the night, named Outstanding Band and taking the coveted People's Choice Award, based on fan votes.”

“The result: a folk pop band featuring violin. Sometimes when you hear ‘unusual’ instruments in a rock band’s song, it tends to be a one-off appearance, like a horn added for extra effect. The first time I heard one of their tracks, I didn’t dwell on the fact that there was a violin playing along in this pop band. That’s because Nicole Scorsone’s violin sounds just right at home with the Bern and the Brights’ aesthetic. They’ve been described as a ‘female-fronted R.E.M.’, a description that I guess isn’t a great leap if you reflect on R.E.M. in Peter Buck’s mandolin-wielding days. Comparisons can be dangerous, but I’m going to make one of my own now. The sound of Bern and the Brights could give some folk pop acts we’ve featured here at TGTF (including Mumford and Sons and Fanfarlo) a run for their money. Engaging, fun music with Malavarca’s strong voice leading the way.”

“Northern Soul turns a noisy Thursday night into a sublime experience by Jim Testa The three women and two men in the group huddled together in Northern Soul’s small performance space undaunted by their surroundings and provided their fans with an enchanting set of folkie pop, enriched by the melodic strains of Nicole Scorsone’s violin and Bernadette Malavarca’s ebullient vocals and lead guitar. Catherine McGowan adds rich harmony vocals and acoustic guitar, while Shawn Fafara on bass and Jose Ulloa on percussion provide the lilting rhythms of this multi-faceted combo – part gypsy soul, part Lilith Fair folk, part indie-pop. Visit bernandthebrightsblog.com for a list of their upcoming shows, and try to catch them wherever you can. read more...”

“Concert Review: Bern & the Brights at Spike Hill, Brooklyn, NY 7/18/09 An auspicious Brooklyn show by one of the finest, most intelligent and original exports from the impressively fertile music scene scattered around Montclair, New Jersey. This show was yet further proof that the best new rock music out there bears absolutely no resemblance to anything coming out of Williamsburg. Bern & the Brights’ sound is raw, plaintive and lush in an artsy vein somewhat evocative of New York cello rockers Pearl & the Beard. They don’t waste notes, they vary their tempos and their two women singers deliver a potent emotional impact: this band does not sound like not they go gently into their parents’ luxury condo at the end of the night...”