By Jordan Meehan
Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) is getting ready to release his new album Make Me Believe In Hope and we’ve just had a listen! Rod Thomas is one of our favorites over here at EQ, having stolen our hearts with his singles Disco Moment and Waiting For The Feeling, and we’ve been eagerly anticipating his new album for quite some time now. Here’s what we thought:
Immature kicks off the album and boy what a great opening track it is. This one starts off as a mid-tempo song and kicks into high gear towards the end, and has that happy-but-still-melancholy sound that we’ve come to love. Feel It kind of chugs along in the same manner; while it’s a more up-tempo song, it still has sporadic moments of dance pop-esque explosiveness, and it’s quite nice.
Love Part II has a very bright, 90s pop sound that I just can’t get enough of. It’s such a happy proclamation of being in love and the lyrics sync up with the sound so perfectly. It’s just impossible to dislike this song. Waiting For The Feeling has a very funky vintage sound to it and kind of sounds like something straight out of the 70s. It takes that vintage sound and slams a stellar driving dance beat underneath it and produces a really great sound. Definitely a highlight of the album. Cry At Films has a similar feel to it: a tad of vintage magic mashed up with a more modern pop song; a good follow up to the previous track.
Rod really flexes his Robyn muscles on Moves and Disco Moment. Moves kind of sounds like Indestructible (one of my favorite Robyn tracks!) but still has that unique Bright Light Bright Light air of emotional charge. We should all be well acquainted with Disco Moment by now, but in case we all aren’t, let me just simply state that it’s without a doubt one of the best tracks on the album. The first few seconds alone are enough to signal you in that it’s a pop song on an entirely different level than anything else out there.
A New Word To Say is packed with some nu-disco flair with a splash of funk. It’s got a good mid-tempo pace and a stellar sound and is simply a lovely listen. How To Make A Heart continues with the trend of new-meets-vintage sound and has a bit of a sadder lining than the preceding songs on the album. While it’s a bit of a sadder seeming song, the sound of this track is just otherworldly. Perfect synth-pop.
Debris is a short little song, but packs an emotional punch nonetheless. The most stripped down song on the album, it provides a good springboard into the final song. The last song on the album, Grace, is a far simpler song in terms of production, following up from Debris. This song ends the album on quite an emotional note; a break-up song told from the perspective of the dumper (opposed to the person being dumped), this one really addresses how painful it is to let someone go and hurt them.
Overall with this album Rod Thomas reminds us of everything that has been missing from pop for so long, especially from a male artist: authentic emotion and vulnerability. While the comparisons to Robyn might be in abundance, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad thing. I try to stay away from closely comparing different artists, but in this case I would say it’s welcoming; the world needs a male Robyn to remind us that dance and electronica music can have a soul, and not just a female soul and Make Me Believe In Hope does just that and more.
Make Me Believe In Hope is available in the UK on June 4th (June 26th in the US) through Aztec Records Ltd.
MAKE ME BELIEVE IN HOPE: 9/10