Welsh singer-songwriter-producer Rod Thomas continues to tease fans waiting for his upcoming sophomore album Life Is Easy by releasing another EP under his stage name.
Thomas has been busy whilst getting his new album ready. The Pet Shop Boys have endorsed his cover of West End Girls with the Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic. If that wasn’t enough, Thomas worked with the legendary Elton John on the title track to this EP.
His brand of synth-pop bears a few trademarks: ghostly harmonies, earnest vocals and an underlying sense of hope. Yet the I Wish We Were Leaving EP marks a change in tone from the darker In Your Care EP, which explores the themes of confusion and denial.
Instead, the title track of this new release sparkles like a lullaby suited to a wondrous starry night sky. I Wish We Were Leaving sounds encouraging, thanks to the upbeat melodies, the keyboard chimes and Elton John’s smooth, reassuring vocals in his verse. It suggests with a remarkable absence of spite that it is OK for people (as friends or lovers) to move on, with lines like ‘one day that you’ll make somebody happy, but it won’t be me’. Despite the fact that this song was produced on what Thomas called a ‘very dramatic rainy day’, listeners can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy about I Wish We Were Leaving.
Matters is a mid-tempo throwback to the sway of Hall & Oates (think of the drumbeat on Out of Touch). The lack of bass allows Thomas’ graceful melodies to shine, particularly on ‘when your eyes…are wondering’ in the chorus. The song soars to its spine-tingling climax in the final chorus, which demonstrates Thomas’ improved vocal performance.
Thomas’ soaring vocals and the wintry yet optimistic tone of this EP continue on She Carves Her Desire. Its atmospheric production showcases pulsating percussion that avoids sounding dubstep-lite and jubilant synths and chimes. There is a sense of finality in this track, which would make a good album or concert closer.
Closing out this EP are two dance remixes of the title track by Severino and DJ Nita. The former subverts the music completely, but has a rather generic drum beat. The latter meanwhile has some bizarre house piano that doesn’t really suit the song, let alone Thomas’ other recordings. Of course, these remixes don’t detract from the quality of the earlier tracks on this EP.
Thomas is consolidating his presence as a vibrant, talented singer, songwriter and producer under the Bright Light Bright Light name. He has more or less found his sound, which is apparent on this EP but hopefully should permeate his upcoming second studio album.