Bright Light Bright Light - Make Me Believe In Hope
Few trends are as lazy as the 80's nostalgia boom which seemed to crop up in the early noughties, inspired by endless countdown programmes. It's all too easy to laugh at big mobile phones, shoulder pads and the terrible novelty singles that the decade spawned. The thing that people rarely mention is that the 80's spawned some of Britain's best purely pop acts. The likes of Erasure, Yazoo and especially the Pet Shop Boys made terrific pop songs which, whilst musically were machine-made electronica, contained a very human heart. This is a tradition that Bright Light Bright Light carries on with this debut album.
Bright Light Bright Light is the stage name of Rod Thomas, and on Make Me Believe In Hope he not only follows the formula that the Pet Shop Boys took to pop greatness, he adds his own personality to it. Like a Neil Tennant, Thomas isn't blessed with the kind of voice that holds long notes or can achieve incredible octaves. Instead, his voice is laced with a vulnerability that is not only endearing; it also helps you believe in the songs. This used to great effect on opener 'Immature'. Whilst the background music is dreamy, with a light fluffiness to it, there is terrific contrast with Thomas' voice repeating the mantra "Everything I wanted seems so immature." You only need to look at song titles like 'Cry At Films' or 'How To Make A Heart' to guess the lyrical theme of the album, but Thomas manages to inject each song with enough positivity to show he really believes the album title can come true: When he croons 'I'm in love again' on the magnificent, anthemic 'Love Part II', you can feel the feel the sense of pride and joy in his voice.
Anyone can chuck some synthesisers on an album and claim its '80's influenced', but that isn't the case here. It's clear that Thomas has a real affinity for music from that era. As a self-professed admirer of Kate Bush and Depeche Mode, you can tell he's really studied what made those artists popular, but also what they did to make their music stand the test of time and stand out. Whether or not Bright Light Bright Light is able to follow in their footsteps remains to be seen, but this suggests a bright future.
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