It’s been a busy twelve months for New York dwelling Welsh man Rod Thomas, AKA Bright Light Bright Light. It was only September last year when he released his forth studio album, Fun City. He’s remixed tracks by the likes of Jujubee, Dubstar and Caveboy. His classical album Quiet City came in the opening months of 2021, and already he’s in the cusp of another new release. It’s good to see that whilst live music is on it’s knees, creativity is still on a high.
The new album is the brilliantly titled So Gay, So Dramatic. Not a new album as such, but collection of non-album singles and B sides; a mixtape, no less. And it’s great to have these tracks all in one place, especially when they’re being released on neon double vinyl and coloured audio cassette. There are songs that the casual fan will know, and hidden gems that even the biggest fans may not recall. They’re all in one place now, here on this composite collection.
As this is a collection of previously released material, this was an easy album to review. Already I had my favourites marked out, but amongst them are other less played tracks, not heard in a while. It kicks off with the bouncy 2018 single Uh Huh, and gets you dancing from the offset. Not surprising really, as the collection us split into two halves. So Gay comes first, and has the big, pop, club anthems, known to be Mr. Thomas’s forte. This collection shows off another side of him too, but more about that later in. Right now, we’re dancing. Many of the tracks are interchangeable, as he knows how to make an emotive track that’s still a banger and vice verse.
It’s great to hear the singles from the past again. New York Pretty (from 2017 EP Tales of the city – a great reference to the classic LGBTQ series of novels Of the same name) is a joyful euphoric ode to his adoptive home. Tracks with a lower ranking on different EPs have had their chance to shine. Being Sentimental has recently been thrown out to the LGBTQ producers to create a new mix EP. The track draws influence from those piano house tracks that filled the charts and the clubs in the nineties. Arms of Another gives a nod to the toy piano on house anthem from the same era, Gypsy Woman. Bright Light Bright Light is an artist making relevant new house music, whilst taking influence from incredible dance music from the past. There’s definitely a strong sense of nostalgia and a love of the past involved.
Many of my pre-existing favourites come from the second disc, So Dramatic. Tough Love (the title track from 2018s Tough Love EP) is an anti-love song. Lyrically it pulls on the heart strings, and is backed with classic sophisti-pop production. If you’re a fan of a killer middle right like I am, then this is the song for you.
2015’s stand alone single Blood Moon takes the crown for the slower songs; a late night jazz ballad, and a favourite both before and after listening to this compilation. Ditto with Blueprint. Originally wasted as a B-side, it’s a laid back track that uses more traditional and acoustic instruments from a usually electric artist.
Bright Light Bright Light has always been proud of his roots in the LGBTQ community, so it only seems appropriate that this collection would be released at the end of Pride month. The So Gay tracks can be your Pride party playlist, with the So Dramatic songs being your next day come down soundtrack. For me, its been good to revisit these songs, as part of something bigger. It’s been over ten years now since the release of his debut Love Pt. 2. This album reminds us if the highlights of an exciting career and presents brand new favourites. Hopefully when live music is fully back in our lives, we’ll hear them played at pride events again.
So Gay, So Dramatic is out to stream or buy on June 25th.