Bright Ideas - Portastatic
Bright Ideas Image

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth album for Mac McCaughan's other band (i.e., the one that isn't Superchunk) finds him joined by bassist Jim Wilbur and drummer/brother Matthew McCaughan. Tim Mooney produced.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Both exhilaratingly rocking and gorgeously pensive. [Nov 2005, p.210]
  2. The best record of his career, a collision of the idiosyncratic charms of Portastatic with the exuberant rock power of Superchunk.
  3. More than the sound, the words of Bright Ideas are especially important; they are not particularly eloquent, but they are representative something larger: each clumsy, unsure expression desperately needs to be said.
  4. The songs are reliably mid-tempo and catchy, although they certainly lack the heedless rush that made the first Superchunk albums such models of indie rock.
  5. As good as Bright Ideas is, though, I still can't recommend it over say, the last Superchunk record.
  6. At ten tracks, Bright Ideas doesn’t have a lot of fat, but it ultimately feels like it could have been more successful on the EP format McCaughan is so fond of.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. leshectic
    Oct 10, 2005
    Excellent rousing indie rock where Mac loses the repetitive Superchunk thrash and grows into a master of catchy laterday GBV-like up-tempo rockers (highlighted by the heart of the order in "Through with People", "White Wave", "I Wanna Know Girls", and later "Soft Rewind") tempered with introspective ballads ("Truckstop Cassettes"). Previous efforts 'Summer of the Shark' & 'Autumn was a Lark' were quality but come across as mere solid compilations in comparison. Gone (for better or worse) are the lo-fi homerecorded feel of early Portastic. The aforementioned songs rank easily with Mac's best. The weakest track may be the opener "Bright Ideas", but listeners are rewarded through the remaining disc. The song sequencing makes this a quick enjoyable listen. Lately criminally dismissed as too consistent, this lively diverse set pushes Mac back to the top of the Indie Rock heap. A peak performance. Expand
  2. BrianM
    Sep 7, 2005
    This is possibly the best Portastatic record to date. It has the "no-longer-a-side-project" feel. The songs are as strong as any Superchunk release or if not better. This is one of the better albums Mac has been with in the last couple of years. "I'm Through with People" has to be one of his best songs. Overall, this is well worth a shot. Expand
  3. raulz
    Sep 7, 2005
    Mac scores again with his side-project Portastatic. Bright Ideas merges the spryer elements of Superchunk with the softer tone of Portastatic to a wonderful end.I enjoy it and it is the type of disc that unfolds over time. Expand