||DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE: Summer time and the listening...
by Marc 'Moose' Moder
This article shared 4530 times since Wed Jul 9, 2014
There's always been a certain unnamed fringe group of gay men of a certain age who came up on the sounds of New Order, Depeche Mode, Camouflage, a-ha, Soft Cell, Erasure and Pet Shop Boys. I belong to that subset of the subset and, until recently, it's been very frustrating. Most of the above bands disintegrated or took different directions for much of the past 20-plus years, with the exceptions of Erasure and Pet Shop Boys, who've both remained consistent, relevant and the recipient of sold-out shows for decades. Now, satisfyingly, a younger generation of what my friends called "Gay British Dudes with Synths" has emerged wearing their influences on their sleeves and doing quite well. Recent successes by Capital Cities, Classixx, La Roux, Frankmusik, Hercules + Love Affair and St. Lucia have made straightforward '80s-influenced synth and house in vogue again, and with no irony involved.
The leader of the pack in quality for the past few years has been Welsh-born singer songwriter Rod Thomas who goes by the moniker Bright Light Bright Light. With his debut release, Make Me Believe in Hope, he struck the perfect balance between the dance floor and the heart with an upbeat yet maudlin collection not visited since Marc Almond's heyday. Now, BLx2 is back with this US-recorded follow up, Life Is Easy.
The opener "Life Is Easy" sounds more like a night-ending euphoric tea-dance wind-down a la Erasure's "Blue Savannah." It's pure happiness followed by the more straightforward dance track, "There Are No Miracles," which sounds like it could have hatched from the same batch as the fourth cut, "An Open Heart," and in pure pop Kylie goodness. The midsection finds Rob looking back toward '90s house with the infectious and bitchy "Good Luck," and then switching gears, tipping the hat to today with Calvin Harris-ish EDM on the optimistic single, "I Believe." The rest of Life Is Easy satisfies completely until the "Funky Drummer" coda "Happiness," which despite its descriptor ends the album on a down note. Aside from "Happiness" ( which I'm sure will remix well ), the only low note is the well-publicized duet with mentor Elton John, which not only shows the age of his majesty's vocals but feels oddly backed by a misplaced breakbeat that distracts from the meaningful message of loss, of which Rod has proven himself to be the master.
Despite the odd duet, Life Is Easy's slightly sarcastic title may not be true, but enjoying this well-done sophomore effort is certainly easy listening.
Come hear all DJ Moose's '90s influences mentioned at his Jackhammer teaser night for G.A.Y. '90s, Sat., July 12.
This article shared 4530 times since Wed Jul 9, 2014
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