It's been a long wait for this, the debut album by Bright Light Bright Light (Gremlins-referencing stage name of Rod Thomas) - so it's a relief to finally hear it in full and find that it's a superb collection of compelling dance pop and electronic ballads. Rod is a writer, vocalist and producer/remixer; his warm personality is therefore stamped all over the album.
After the first few listens, there is one very clear standout track which I have already played on multiple repeat - the fantastic 'Moves', which completely nails happy/sad disco devastation ("When it's all I knew, moving on's the hardest thing to do...") in a way that fills me with joy. Although the lyrics appear devoid of hope ("I can do my best I guess, but then what's the use?.."), the melody and production nonetheless spell out that one way or another things do continue. The middle eight section is stunning and sounds like the perfect companion piece to Kylie's 'All The Lovers', with which it also shares ethereal slightly out-of-kilter synths and a euphoric sense of eventual triumph through adversity.
Previous single 'Disco Moment' still sounds fresh, with it's throbbing bassline leading towards a huge chorus with an uplifting melody that contrasts with the 'break up' lyrics. There are several more strong, melodic dance moments: 'Cry At Films', 'Waiting For The Feeling' and 'New Word To Say' are all shimmering, finely crafted synth tracks.
The slower songs are all lovely - particularly 'How To Make A Heart', which is an oddly moving and intricately produced piece of melancholy wistfulness. It's a pity that his cover of 'Falling' (theme from Twin Peaks) is not also included on this album but 'How To Make A Heart' runs it very close for haunting beauty.
'Immature' falls into neither category, being the most experimental production-wise (merging mid-80s synths with skipping beats and dream-like melodic chimes). The lyrics - typically for this album - are reflective, vulnerable and self-critical ("Everything I wanted seems so immature..").
Closing song 'Grace' puts Rod's plaintive vocals right at the centre of the mix, with sparse production gradually building into an epic-sounding send off.
There is a lyrical depth and emotional connection here that pushes this album into a territory of its very own. Favourite album of the year so far.
I was absolutely surprised with his debut album, as I never heard before about Rod Thomas, also known as 'Bright Light Bright Light'. This album is pop perfection, as its a mix of Pop, 80s synthpop and disco, all mixed up together, and the result is the fantastic "Make Me Believe in Hope". The album has been written and produced by Rod Thomas, The Invisible Men (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, DJ Fresh) and Andy Chatterley (Kylie Minogue, Diana Vickers, Nerina Pallot). Best tracks on the album are "Moves", "Cry at Films", the 80s-vintage track "A New Word to Say" and the single "Waiting for the Feeling". It's such a shame he has no support from music and TV stations, because he totally deserves recognition for his work. In my opinion, this album is definitely one of the best albums of 2012.
Review track by track: 01 Inmature: 9/10 02 Feel It: 8/10 03 Love Part II: 8/10 04 Waiting for the Feeling: 10/10 05 Cry at Films: 10/10 06 Moves: 10/10 07 Disco Moment: 8/10 08 A New Word to Say: 10/10 09 How to Make a Heart: 9/10 10 Debris: 9/10 11 Grace: 7/10
Rod Thomas is a man with more than a few musical irons in the fire but as a singer/songwriter this talented Welshman has come up with a real cracker with his debut album 'Make Me Believe In Hope'. This is intelligent dance/pop of the highest order.
Mr Thomas knows how to hitch a good tune to powerfully addictive beats in a way which makes it hard not to jump up and down and sing along. This is feel-good music. Of the eleven numbers in the set there truly isn't a duff one among them. With more than a few nods and winks to the eighties and nineties (Erasure, Lighthouse Family, Pet Shop Boys and with the uplifting 'Love Part Two' even the Thompson Twins) he weaves a rich tapestry of synth-based melody and rhythm.
Take a composition like 'Disco Moment'. The densely textured arrangement bubbles and burns with real passion and delivers one of the most infectious choruses I've heard so-far this year. Mr Thomas has a perfectly pleasant voice; a limber, rock-solid tenor which sounds just as good out on its own as it does in his well-conceived harmonies.
Other highlights include 'Feel It' with its clattering piano, quasi-Latin percussion and rumbustious happy-housey conclusion; 'Moves', a beautifully crafted song which, in its somewhat old-fashioned way, has pretty everything in it which a piece of classic pop should have - glistening synth arpeggios; perfect balance between verse and refrain and a palpable sense of real joy and final track 'Grace'; a ray of sunshine bursting through the dark clouds.
I buy fewer albums as time goes on, tending to 'cherry-pick' tracks from artists, but I have been waiting for Bright Light x 2 album since I heard Love Part 2 as the Radio 1 track of the week. I love all the tracks, there are no fillers. Every track sounds like a potential single. With a retro feel on some of the tracks, the songs sound fresh with Rod Thomas' warm and sincere vocals and production. This should have been a No1 album and I am disappointed that the media hasn't picked up on this brilliant album instead of promoting the inane boring music in the charts at the moment. Check out the videos for the released singles on YouTube or Bright Light x 2 website - all excellent.
...with all the other reviewers. I wish I could give it 6 stars.
It's October, 2012 and I'm embarrassed to say I'm JUST learning about this artist after reading an ad for his concert in Time Out New York. He's playing in a tiny club this week and I'm so fortunate to learn about him before the show. How many times can one say that every song on an album is fantastic? Brilliant hooks, ridiculously-catchy refrains, and a synth-lovers dream of arrangements. Also check out his collaboration Garcon Garcon - awesome.
Bought on the strength of a press review, found it to be a stunning and intelligent album. Listen to it many times a day. Buy copies for yourself and for your friends, I did. You need to spead the word about this amazing talent.
I discovered Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) via a review in Attitude and it sounded something I would like. Like a complete idiot I waited about a month before ordering and then hard to wait 2 weeks for my copy to be delivered due to stock levels, what a complete fool I was. This album is easily my favourite of 2012.
I searched out every remix of every track I could find and bought it there are so many good ones. He has also released many mash-ups on Soundcloud.com many of which mash his own stuff with others, e.g. Feel Yourself (BLBL vs Madonna), Get Outta My Films (Kylie vs BLBL).
Saw him live at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford on 27th October 2012 and he's every bit as good live as on the album. Passionate, chatty, charismatic and amenable to fan requests to pics and chat (although curse myself for being so shy, didn't say as much as I wanted to).
I can't put into words as eloquently as some other reviews but the combination or melodies that make you want to jump up and dance combined which deeper and more emotional lyrics than pretty much all other pop/electro-pop music is what pushes this guy far above his more well paid/supported/advertised peers. I actually cried the other day whilst listening to Grace and reading the lyrics in the companion booklet.
I cannot wait to see what he does next; I really hope he gets more attention as he totally deserves it all and more.