ALBUM REVIEW: Bright Light Bright Light “Make Me Believe In Hope”

Rod Thomas, a.k.a Bright Light Bright Light has been on The Kaje’s radar for what seems like an eternity, so calling his debut album “Make Me Believe In Hope” seems somewhat of an understatement. Having had singles “Love Part II” and “Waiting For The Feeling” stuck in our heads for longer than we can remember, it is a relief to now have no less than eleven songs to sing along with.

Thomas is a pop fan. Having spoken openly of his love of Ace Of Base, listeners of “Make Me Believe In Hope” will be left disappointed if they are seeking a musical tribute to “All That She Wants” or “Always Have, Always Will”, because Thomas veers away from the cheese and instead delivers an expertly crafted, slick pop album that oozes both credibility and singability.

It is nigh on impossible to pin-point a low moment in the album’s all to brief eleven tracks. However, it is easy to note the spine-tingling (“Cry At Films”, “Grace”) and the irresistibly addictive (“Immature”, “Disco Moment”, “How To Make A Heart”) highlights, yet even those lists negate the diverse beauty of “Make Me Believe In Hope”.

With echoes of Scissor Sisters, Erasure, Frankmusik, Ronika and Tim & Jean, Bright Light Bright Light is a distinct pop project than channels emotional motivation and slinky hooks to grab its listener at their core and make them move in every sense of the word possible.

“Make Me Believe In Hope” does so much than its title demands. Knocking the socks off the albums unleashed in 2012 so far, this is currently a very strong contender for album of the year.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks hope to Bright Light Bright Light

Bright Light Bright Light – Rod Thomas to his friends – has been on The Kaje’s radar ever since he unleashed the poptastic “Disco Moment” last summer, so we were thrilled when news of an impending single and album launch hit our inbox unexpectedly. Single “Waiting For The Feeling” is a slice of retro pop that blows your mind, while the album “Make Me Believe In Hope” does all that and more-here at The Kaje we defy you not to fall in love with the charm of “Grace” and danceability of “How To Make A Heart”. Given our love and respect for the man we hotly tip to be providing the summer sun of the music scene, we did not hesitate to join the queue to find out more from the man himself…

For those that don’t know about Bright Light Bright Light-can you tell us a little bit more about the project?

Bright Light Bright Light is my pop project. I used to release material under my own name which had much more organic production, but while I’m still young I wanted to explore my love of pop music and dancefloor classics, so I opted for a pseudonym to make a clear distinction between my old material, and this side of my music work. I wanted to have a very clear image that matched the sound I’d been working on. I spent a long time working on the production, teaching myself to be better at production, and focusing on what I wanted to sound like, so I wanted what people saw to match what they were hearing. I’d been doing lots of remixes, and DJing out a lots (as well launching my own night ‘Another Night’ – a 90s club night – with a friend), so I though a pseudonym could link all of these strands of my music career. So, the remixes tie in with my production, the production ties in with my DJing as I play lots of my influences / remixes when I DJ …  The songs are proper songs (rather than vocal hooks over a dance track), and some had more acoustic beginnings, but the project is about enjoying my love of the late 80s/early 90s and making something that works on a dancefloor, but has soul.
You have been working away towards your debut album ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’-can you tell us about the process so far?
It’s been brilliant. I was very lucky to work with some of my favourite producers and writers. Boom Bip (I was in love with his early EPs and Neon Neon) worked on ‘Disco Moment’ and ‘A New Word To Say’, Andy Chatterley (Kylie, UNKLE, Nerina Pallot) mixed a lot of the songs and I wrote ‘Love Part II’ with him, and Jon Shave of The Invisible Men wrote a few songs with me, and became a real sidekick in shaping the record. I had a blast making it, and doing it independently gave me a lot of freedom choosing tracks, mixes, and working on the visuals to accompany it.
Post-album experience-do you now believe in hope?
Haha, I like to think I always have, but I definitely feel a lot more optimistic after finishing it and hearing a release date!
‘Waiting For The Feeling’ is your latest single-how representative of the record is it?
In terms of it being a big pop number, it’s very representative of the energy of the record. There are some softer songs, but ‘Waiting For The Feeling’ is a song that definitely represents how the album will be in the live show – lots of energy and big beats.
How do you know what works as a single and what is simply an album track?
It’s difficult to know. Everyone has their favourite track. Especially when you have 4 other band members who all pick a favourite, fans talk on Twitter and people tag on Facebook… I try to mix trusting my own judgement and listening to what people feed back. For this one, I knew. When we played at SXSW last year, it was the first time I’d played it live, and a radio DJ told me it “melted her face off”, so I thought that was probably as good a sign as I was going to get that it should be a single!
Your sound is steeped in rich pop-who would you say were your greatest inspirations?
Artists with strong identities and a distinctive voice. Bjork, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, Erasure, David Bowie … production wise I love what Filthy Dukes, Royksopp, David Morales and Todd Terry produce, so my 90s DJing really influenced the energy and dance-leaning nature of some of the tracks. Visually David Lynch and Tim Burton have been big influences. Lots of my friend have been big influences in terms of following your instinct and making something you believe in – James Yuill and Del Marquis in particular.
Returning to the notion of hope-what hopes do you have for 2012 and beyond?
I hope that the album lives up to what my fans want, and for me, I hope that my band and I have a great time touring the record and meeting even more brilliant people along the way.
The Single “Waiting For The Feeling” is out April 30.
The Album “Make Me Believe In Hope” is out June 4th.
Words by Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: Bright Light Bright Light “Waiting For The Feeling”

Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) is a big fan of 90s pop-and thankfully it shows. Having already impressed with his singles “Love Part II” and The Kaje’s Top 20 Single of 2011 “Disco Moment”, Thomas has been busy working on his debut album “Make Me Believe In Hope”. While we have to wait till June to discover what poptastic treats the album contains, we are happy to tease and entice with his sleek single “Waiting For The Feeling”.

The Kaje’s Top 20 Singles 2011!!!!

The charts have been inundated with stellar singles this year, so rather than waste time making small talk about tracks, we have decided to simply let the music do the talking this time around – no need for us to justify our selections. So here goes our 20-1 countdown…

20.  Jess Hall Band – Play Shy

19. Cosmo Jarvis – Gay Pirates

18. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

17. Bright Light Bright Light – Disco Moment

16. Radio Star – A Common Tale

15. Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – We Found Love

14. Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum

13. Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)

12. Ed Sheeran – Lego House

11. Boy In A Box -Glitter, Gold, Ruin

10. Owl Eyes – Raiders 

9. Rebecca Ferguson – Nothing’s Real But Love

8. Kal Lavelle – The Ocean

7. Agnes Obel – Brother Sparrow

6. Gotye ft. Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

5. Wynter Gordon – Buy My Love

4. The Good Natured – Skeleton

3. Britney Spears – Till The World Ends

2. Lana Del Rey – Video Games

1. Adele – Someone Like You

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