Lockdown has been a particularly tough time for people in the music industry, not allowing them to fill our music venues in the way they usually would. It’s independent artists who’ve struggled the most. Take Welsh boy turned New York resident Rod Thomas, AKA DJ, singer and songwriter Bright Light Bright Light. His club night Romy & Michelle’s Saturday Afternoon Tea Party is usually a weekly feature at New York’s Club Cumming. We’re all missing our clubs, so the party has gone online, bringing a quality clubbing experience to our front rooms. It’s been the staple of my weekends over the last few months and brought fellow music lovers together from around the world.
But whilst playing the club host with the most, Mr Thomas has also made the time to put together a brand new album, Fun City. Whilst there’s been a number of tracks and EPs out over the last couple of years (including three excellent Cinematography cover version collections) this is the first long player since 2016’s Choreography. He’s come back with a load of his mates with his new collection of songs. You can get a good idea of what Fun City is about, simply by looking at the artwork; the bright colours, the Hawaiian shirt and the sun kissed look. There are also a sexy yellow and pink vinyl editions of the record on their way. This is an album full of fun and colour both on the sleeve and the content.
Fun City is an album with a lot to say from a relevant LGBT artist. It talks of LGBT issues and features an impressive list of LGBT artists (including both new and legendary names). But this album isn’t just for the LGBT community No, it’s for any lovers of intelligent and well produced pop music.
So let’s start off by looking at those contributors. The likes of Erasure frontman Andy Bell, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and Sam Sparrow are all present, but this isn’t an exercise in throwing together huge names. For every legendary name featured, Fun City features an up and coming new artist, using his platform to promote new talent in the way Elton John did at the start of Bright Light x2’s career.
The first single to drop back in March was This Was My House and features not only producer Initial Talk, but also Madonna’s backing vocalists Donna De Lory and Niki Haris, most famously featuring in the Vogue video, as well as the Blonde Ambition tour. It was the perfect song to kick off the campaign. If you liked the first single, then you’re in for a treat with the rest of the album.
Fun City is essentially pop and dance album, consisting for the most part of euphoric, upbeat tunes. It’s full of uplifting tracks that are exactly what we need in our lives right now. But saying that, it still manages to remain highly emotive, in both the vocals and the production. Good at Goodbyes is a prime example. Featuring the vocals of Andy Bell, it starts as a piano/vocal ballad before kicking into a full on disco track. The two voices so sound great together and the song will be stuck in your head for days. It’s the merging of such voices that keep the album fresh right through until the end. Each special guest adds something different, from the catchy album opener Touchy, to the late night jazz club vibes of Saying Goodbye is Exhausting. It still however features the sophisti-pop vibe of eighties that has come synonymous with Bright Light’s sound.
New kids on the block Caveboy feature on the It’s Alright, It’s Ok. After the recent Bright Light mix of their single Obsessed (from their stellar debut album Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark), they return the favour by lending guest vocals to the most recent single. The track breaks down gender roles, creating the perfect modern day pop song. LA based rapper Big Dipper sounds great on Love Song, adding a totally different dimension to the track.
Fun City is an album that adds very nicely to an already existing stellar collection of work. It’s a strange time for any artist releasing new music. No doubt we’d have seen many of these songs performed at Pride events over the last month, but sadly that wasn’t to be this year. But that doesn’t stop this being an amazing summer album with lots of amazing pop tunes.
Fun City is out on 19th September.