The Brilliance
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The Brilliance

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Never question the rock & roll bona fides of the UK’s The Brilliance. You’ll find no CPA father hiding in the closet, no middle class auntie waiting with tea & biscuits after a day’s classes at public school, no relations in Her Majesty’s foreign service. Like the Who, the Kinks, the Faces, and Oasis before them, The Brilliance are from the working class branch of British rock lineage. Although they hail from the same Yorkshire neck of the woods as Arctic Monkeys, they have much more in common musically with Coldplay and Keane of recent vintage, and even recall the post-punk Northern buoyancy of bands such as the Housemartins (last generation’s top export from The Brilliance’s native Hull). The melodies ring and soar. The guitar bi-play is crisp and intricate, eschewing distortion with a near religious fervor. While the songs defiantly reject the currently fashionable herky-jerky angularity, it is truly singer-songwriter-guitarist Shane McMurray who wins the day, with the tuneful-yet-still-urgent voice of a singer for whom music has always been a necessity, not a nicety. “In the beginning/You had nothing,” he sings (plaintively, beautifully). For The Brilliance those lyrics carried the literal truth.

If you believe everything you hear about the band’s hometown Hull, you might imagine the UK’s renowned “toilet circuit” of small rock venues would seem like so much time in the sunshine to four natives. Young adults everywhere dream of escaping drab lives through the magic of rock stardom. Last in education and first in countless polls ranking England’s “worst places to live,” Hull’s capacity for inspiring rock n’ roll dreams would seem to be one-of-a-kind. The Brilliance came together at music college there, a setting where forming a band was perhaps inevitable and a better option than the “dodgy jobs” on offer around town. McMurray had known classmate David Kyte (Bass, Backing Vocals) since childhood. The pair soon enlisted Rob Dolman (Guitar, Backing Vocals), who knew the two from school and had seen an early incarnation of the band. When word reached Andy Ervin that The Brilliance needed a drummer (via – in rapid succession – friends, a sister’s boyfriend, and an advert), the lineup was complete. The workaday life was lurking, threatening to waylay them before they could go anyplace, as McMurray sings: “We all fall down/At the edge of town/There’s nothing, nothing here for you.” The band hit the ground running and never looked back.

The Brilliance also availed themselves of the college’s recording studios and McMurray learned his way around them, allowing the band to be astonishingly prolific (around 100 tracks in the can and counting) from an early stage. There would be time at a later date for working out the finer points, such as settling on a proper musical direction. If their evolution was gradual, the progress was undeniable. The band became remarkably adept at writing, recording, and performing. They created polished recordings in what are essentially demos. They have converted fans with their compact and energetic live sets.

That steady stream of gigs has sustained The Brilliance’s early momentum. From a notable early booking in support of Fonda 500 at the former Barfly, they rapidly esculated to more high profile slots, including a stuffed to capacity show supporting Snow Patrol at Adelphi Hull. They have also garnered regular regional radio play, most notably on BBC North. From the hundred or so songs in the Brilliance songbook has emerged the nucleus of what will shortly become a debut album, including “We All Fall Down,” “In the Beginning,” and “Ways and Means.” The same economics can be said to apply to the band’s vision for the future, which sounds characteristically determined.