Be Human is true to Brighten's style with a creative exploration into new ways to express new experiences. The whole of the collection of songs comes across as a person's struggle to get over the loss of a romantic relationship. But without falling into whining and wailing, as easily happens, Brighten maintains some dignity with hooks that allow the listener to catch on, sing along, and experience the story that is being told as much as one can through a pair of headphones.
"Where We Belong" opens the EP with a catchy, optomistic guitar riff that kicks in with singer Justin Richards singing, "Oh, thank heaven, she's so beautiful." He vows to never lose her, foreshadowing the poor transgression of the EP that will lead up to the final track, "I Lost Her."
"Without You" again offers some insight into the possibility of not always having a beautiful woman around. Immediately, this is the most memorable track on the EP, which was put up on the band's myspace several weeks before the release of Be Human. Of all the tracks, "Without You" points back to the beginning of Brighten in King vs. Queen but with the maturity that they achieved in Early Love.
Be Human takes a bit of a turn on the third track, "While The Fire Was Out," giving the EP a bit of a home-on-the-country-side feel that will carry through the next couple songs. The mood is beginning to change, forcing the listener to begin to question what the true story behind the songs is and what The Fire is meant so symbolize. The song goes from simple old-south reflection to solid gold with a female guest vocal (I don't know who she is, someone should fill us in!).
When "That Girl" kicks in, Brighten returns to the indie-pop hook-masters that got them as many fans as they've acquired through enduring years of rough touring schedules and trouble with tricky record executives. This song will make Carbon Copy Media wish they hadn't screwed up their relationship with them.
The EP wraps up with the title track and the final conclusion of this short story told via mp3's, "I Lost Her." "Be Human," though connected to the whole of the EP by its title, is not the best song of the six. Brighten get points for ingenuity and creativity, but it doesn't sit well with a casual listen. "I Lost Her," however, is a beautiful, haunting song that finally places the listener in a relationship with the outcome of the story that has been told between the lines of the EP. Richards croons a melody that softly creeps under your skin as the song begins, which then becomes the anchor for the song to launch its climax. Richards may have lost her, but he resolves to get her back, as he sings, "I will work to be a man, as you will see."
As a whole, this is a great EP. Brighten have recently taken a hiatus as Jimmy Richards is doing missionary work in Africa and Justin tours with A Rocket to the Moon; hence, they have said that the release of this six-song EP is "just for fun." If this is what they do when they're just having fun, then we are sure to be blown away by an all-out, no holds barred full length. But you don't have to take my word for it. Go buy Be Human on iTunes for a meager $5.94 here.