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Album Review: Bright Light Bright Light – Life Is Easy

2 min read

After teasing fans with high-quality extended plays for In Your Care and I Wish We Were Leaving (his duet with Elton John), Bright Light Bright Light has finally released the follow up to his debut studio album. The Welsh singer-songwriter known in real life as Rod Thomas keeps up the overarching mood of optimism on Life Is Easy.

Bright Light Bright Light - Life Is EasyEverything I Ever Wanted sparkles with joy and wonder like a Christmas carol to open the album, thanks to the rounds in the choruses, uplifting melodies, charming chimes and choir-like harmonies.The slight disco groove and shimmering synths of There Are No Miracles poorly disguise the pain of the past, as Thomas’ yearning vocals and lyrics (including the line ‘nothing comes easy’, which clearly contradicts the album title) reveal the truth.

Whilst the ethereal starry-eyed lullaby I Wish We Were Leaving and the euphoric breath of fresh air that is An Open Heart brighten the room with hope, the club banger Good Luck is a spiteful, shady spit at an ex. Stabbing synths recalling 1990s house music allow Thomas’ finger-pointing (‘if you took the time to know me’) and sarcastic best wishes to his ex to pierce through. Who would think that an act called Bright Light Bright Light could be so dark and malicious?

Almost inevitably, the middle tracks drag the album down just a bit. Latest single I Believe is a bit too similar to the previous track and Calvin Harris’ formulaic EDM tracks like Let’s Go and Summer. The piano-backed Lust For Life attempts to exhilarate but ultimately ends up being a bit stale.

Fortunately, the tracks at the tail-end of the album are an improvement, as they are effortless and do more than just feature the album title in the lyrics. The thick harmonies, delicate guitars and oriental-sounding keyboards elevate More Than Most into a escapade for the open road where young kids do crazy things like ‘shoot(ing) the stars out’. In Your Care has not lost the sheen and warmth from its 2013 debut.

The discordant chords and vocal loops on Too Much evoke a sense of overwhelming confusion as Thomas struggles to forgive and forget, even though the track remains infectiously bouncy. The Ace of Base tribute Happiness pours over listeners like a summer tropical drink, ending the album with more cheery synths and panicked vocal samples that suggest that sadly, this was all a dream.

Rod Thomas’s sophomore album as Bright Light Bright Light may conjure some ghosts of past heartbreak and anger. Ultimately, it is the optimistic music that make Life is Easy a hopeful statement that one can live better simply by moving on.