Single Review: Bright Light Bright Light – An Open Heart
Bright Light Bright Light is criminally underrated. Thanks to blogs like Popjustice, he isn’t exactly a nobody, but from the first moment I heard his music, the potential to crossover from the pop underground into the public conciousness screamed louder than anything else. Rod Thomas, the man behind the moniker, is devoted to pop music. If there was an award for most-likely-to-have-an-Ace-of-Base-shine (which, let’s agree, there should be) then Rod would probably win it.
Rod is a British man with a Scandinavian soul. Think of the aforementioned swedes and their penchant for a grand, touching chorus that didn’t feel the need to stick to the tired piano-vocal formula. It’s what we’re dealing with, not only on ‘An Open Heart’, but in Bright Light Bright Light’s music so far. Sad-pop as a genre exaggerates the melancholy a little too much, but it doesn’t hurt to have a nice backing beat to sob along to, does it Robyn? No, she would answer, and I’d bet that Rod would be inclined to agree.
‘An Open Heart’ brings the strengths of his debut record ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’ and builds on it’s critically acclaimed foundations. The refrain is huge – it is enough to make Depeche Mode count their many pennies and try to buy it – that is what level of brilliance we’re dealing with. Above anything else though, it’s this growth within Rod’s songwriting that stands as the most sensational thing about the song. The twinkling synths have never sounded so sweet, nor have his vocals ever sat upon the beats with such fitting honesty. The swooping effects give it a spacey feel which is always a great thing, particularly as they predict the coming of the invigorating chorus.
The EP that follows ‘An Open Heart’ will likely be a splendid affair – I have never doubted Mr. Thomas’ skill and talent – but not even I expected such a big step up so quickly. The track is a logical step forward from ‘Make Me Believe In Hope’, uttering similar sentiments and vibes but giving them even more oomph. To reference it again, a fantastic development on already-great songwriting skills is what really does steal the show here, but even if this is the first Bright Light Bright Light song you listen to, rest assured that we’re handling the material of a pop superfan that is quickly evolving into the masterminds he admires.
Words: Simon McMurdo