There aren’t many singer-songwriters who would confess to being just as much inspired by Ace Of Base, Black Box and Bizarre Inc. as the usual suspects Kate Bush, David Bowie and Bjork. But then Welshman Bright Light Bright Light isn’t your typical singer-songwriter.
Initially recording under his own name, Rod Thomas began his musical career as a one-man-band troubadour, first as a busker on the London Underground and then as a fully-fledged performer on the festival circuit, where he showcased his DIY brand of folktronica armed with just a guitar, loop pedal and keyboard.
But after several releases through his own Self Raising Records label, he ditched the acoustics, adopted the Bright Light Bright Light moniker (inspired by a line in his favourite film Gremlins), and began to embrace the euphoric dance music of the early 90s, founding two London club nights, Comfortable Shoes and Another Night, in the process.
It appears to have been a wise move considering the fact that his blend of uplifting melodies, confessional tales of love and day-glo electro-pop production has since seen him be championed by Elton John, described as the male Robyn by the NME, and invited by Ellie Goulding, The Noisettes and Marina & The Diamonds to join them on their UK tours.
After working with the likes of US hip-hop producer Boom Bip, Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis and Swedish duo Sound of Arrows, Bright Light Bright Light received even more plaudits with the release of his debut album, Make Me Believe In Hope, earlier this year.
Indebted to the 90s it may be, listen to the Josh Wink-esque techno bridge on “Waiting For The Feeling” or wailing diva vocals and Italo house chords on “Feel It,” for the most obvious examples. But Thomas’ heart-pouring lyrics and genuine sense of melancholy amongst the four-to-the-floor beats and glossy synths, particularly on the swoonsome Pet Shop Boys-ish “Love Part II” and the gorgeous “Immature,” ensure it’s more than just an homage to the club classics of yesteryear.
Indeed, with his ‘Crying At The Discotheque’ approach, Bright Light Bright Light deserves to do for vintage Hi-NRG electro what Adele did for vintage soul-pop.