The 2012 debut by Welsh singer-producer Rod Thomas, who works as Bright Light Bright Light, was voted that year's fourth-best album in the Guardian readers' poll, an unexpected accolade for a fringe artist inspired by the moment in the late 1980s when synthpop collided with house music. Life Is Easy offers more bittersweet iterations of his primary theme, which couples spun-sugar melodies with passive-aggressive guiltmongering. As the wronged party, Thomas often takes the moral high ground: "It's enough to see someone you love move on, and when they're gone, it's enough to know you tried to keep them safe," he murmurs, on Everything I Ever Wanted, which could be an elegant Pet Shop Boys outtake; on I Wish We Were Leaving, he and a beautifully spent-sounding Elton John croon: "One day you'll make somebody so happy, but it won't be me." But it's the hi-hats, rave synthlines and shimmering melodies that linger; Thomas's lingering look at the past won't get the cool kids onside, but ravers of a certain age will find much to love.
Bright Light Bright Light: Life Is Easy review – bittersweet lyrics and rave beats
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian