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The best kept secret in music


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2006 - Ariless Alarm (Kirtland Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bril's debut album on Kirtland Records, Airless Alarm, fulfills a promise of richly dynamic music that comes from a genuine collaboration of peers rather than commercial calculation. Truly, it's the culmination of a decade of friendship between these four musicians from San Clemente, California; singer - guitarist - keyboardist Dave Starr, guitarist Kris Winrich, bassist Scott Nelson and drummer Kelly Winrich.

Working with award winning producer Justin Gray (Joss Stone, Sugar Jones) and noted mixer Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam), Bril has created a stunning blend of blistering, yet thoroughly tuneful sounds on Airless Alarm that draw upon the best of both the soul-searching found in American alternative music and the ever-expanding sonic landscapes of Brit-rock.

Named for the legendary New York songwriting building of the 1960s, a place synonymous with an approach to songwriting that changed the course of music, the group dropped one letter to become Bril. In a band just prior to their formation, singer - guitarist - keyboardist Dave Starr, guitarist Kris Winrich and bassist Scott Nelson found they needed a new man at the drum kit and they all knew who would be a perfect fit: Kris' younger brother Kelly. After all, he played with them on and off in the past in different groups and brought with him an unparalleled musical connection to the others which has been carried over effortlessly into the songwriting of Bril.

Like many great front men, Dave never planned on being in the spotlight. He started out as a musician and songwriter. "Every band I was in could never find a singer that could sing," he says. "I didn't even like the way I sounded but it worked. I still don't like hearing myself recorded, but what singer does?"

Brothers Kris and Kelly grew up in a true musical household. Kris actually started out on drums before turning to guitar, while it was the reverse for Kelly, until they switched their key instruments of choice, though to this day it affords a potential for versatility within the group.

Kris and Kelly first met Scott in high school and ended up playing music on and off on the side for almost a year. To this day, Bril has spent many a late night working into the wee hours of the morning, honing in on their song craft and unique style at the Winrich compound, where the band has a studio.

In early 2004, after landing a record deal with Kirtland Records, Bril traveled to Toronto to record Airless Alarm. As it is often the case with creating great art, many challenges and obstacles filled the path to the completion of this record. After returning home, Tim Palmer was brought in to mix only three songs, but upon working with the band, he fell in love with the music and wanted to lend his craft to the entire album. Unfortunately, Palmer was committed to other projects at the time, which left the band working alone in their newly built home studio. Out of these sessions, the single "Far Away" was created. Months later, Palmer mixed the entire album, contributing to its lush, sonic landscapes.

Bril's sense of purpose is clear on Airless Alarm, from the searing challenge of the opening track, "Don't You Change," to the longings of the album's first single, "Far Away." "It's about people changing and going different directions, letting circumstance overcome who they really are," Dave says. Kris feels that the push-and-pull of "Sold Yourself to Luxury" reflects the band's power in concert, while Scotty's favorite is "Faster" for its sonic boom sound, though not just because the bass is cranked, he smiles.

The entire group agrees that the album's title song is something very special, a rising ballad that began life as an acoustic sketch first recorded by Dave on his laptop while the group was in Toronto for recording sessions. Months later, thousands of miles away, it made its debut on stage in Fullerton, California as a last minute set addition to become a piece of discovery for the foursome.

While Bril thrives on stage with captivating improvisation, the group never loses sight of what matters most: the songs. "We value each of the individual parts in the songs, and how they work for all of us," Kelly says. "But it's how they flow and come together for the song as a whole that really counts."