Local music: Brainbow

By Columbus Alive
From the January 17, 2013 edition

Columbus instrumental rock band Brainbow didn’t break up so much as it dissipated like the aftermath of one of its slow-building sound tsunamis. Clouds are gathering, though. Saturday at Ace of Cups, for the first time in two years, Brainbow will return to the stage.

The occasion for joining forces again is the completion of Brainbow II, an album the band had been laboring on with Jon Fintel at Relay Recording since its self-titled debut came out in October 2008.

Writing new Brainbow music has always been a lengthy task. Guitarist/bassist Bobby Silver described the quintet’s creative process as “alchemy” and the results as “space Egypt.” But lots of factors kept Brainbow II in the cauldron for so long.

First came the extracurricular projects. The cinematically inclined quintet learned and performed music from the “Lord of the Rings” movies for Halloween one year (in Middle Earth-appropriate costumes, naturally). They also crafted new backing music for songs by Columbus rapper Blueprint for a DoneWaiting.com anniversary concert.

“That stuff was all really easy for us,” bassist/keyboardist Chris Worth said, because it had to be done by a certain date. “We’re no good with self-imposed deadlines.”

Then came the families, mortgages, careers and Ph.Ds. Intra-band tensions increased. Guitarist Will Fugman took a job in New York.

“It kept getting harder and harder for us to think of the band in a business sense,” Worth said. “You have to go out on a limb [to pursue music full-time].”

Instead of going out on a limb, Brainbow is going out with a bang. The double-LP is coming out on white vinyl, decked out in cowboy-centric album art by illustrator Felipe Merida. The release party features titanic Columbus supergroups EYE and Connections. It’s a big finish for a band that never sounded less than humongous.

“Any wounds that we may have had, we wanted to heal,” Silver said. “That’s why we’re doing the show. We wanted to make it right with ourselves and the universe.”

As for Brainbow II, it’s an enduring reminder that Brainbow’s years of effort amounted to something, Silver said: “All these great minds coming together really did create something tremendous.”

Photo by Jodi Miller