Bright Light Bright Light - Make Me Believe In Hope

Clever, sweet, and well thought-out.

Bright Light Bright Light is the stage name of Rod Thomas, who looks pretty cool. Buttoned-up collars, neatly swept hair and that must-have designer stubble make him a pretty dapper chap. Performing intimate gigs in the hipster hub of Hoxton only serve to radiate trendy credentials.

How refreshing then, that the music he makes is so unpretentious. For all its neat production and stylish presentation, ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’ is, at its core, dance-able pop for grownups (who perhaps like to dance in 80s discos, from time to time).

It is a debut that is unashamedly frenetic, and ready to get you on your feet from the off. Futuristic beats race from in opening track Immature, sounding just a little like Postal Service’s ‘Such Great Heights’. It’s not long though, before the album gives way to more familiar dance allusions.

Running throughout this debut is an appreciation for perfectly-crafted synth pop sounds. Close your eyes while listening to ‘Feel It’, and you could easily be listening to one of the Pet Shop Boys catchier tunes. As the album segues into ‘Waiting For The Feeling’ and ‘Cry At Films’ (which features Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis) it’s not hard to see why Rod’s critical acclaim includes comparisons to Robyn, and even Kylie. This is an album that revels in its inspiration, and is all the better for it.

So often, when a dashing young pop star attempts to pay homage a bygone era, the result is tragically underwhelming, and stories are instead written about the artist’s look (Sam Sparro and your new album, we’re looking at you.) Thankfully though, this is not a trap that Rod Thomas falls into.

Finding fault almost seems cruel, when an album is so endearing and eager to please, but it’s not a perfect offering. Though a very varied set of songs, a couple of tracks, for example ‘A New Word To Say’, perhaps tend towards the repetitive, or fail to reach the giddy heights of the tracks found in the first half of the album.

Bright Light Bright Light feels, above all, like a very British pop act. Peering through Rod’s slightly plummy singing voice, the lyrics found on many tracks (‘Cry At Films’ and ‘Grace’ particularly) show an emotional vulnerability rarely found with male solo artists. The latter is an unusual break-up song, told from the perspective of the person doing the breaking-up, rather than the jilted other half. It’s clever, sweet, and well thought-out, which incidentally, isn’t a bad way to sum up ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’.

Tags: Bright Light Bright Light, Reviews, Album Reviews

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