‘Our Future’s Not Dead’ is a 4-track EP from alternative rock quintet, Brightlight City. Clocking in at just shy of a quarter of an hour, this sharp-edged record doesn’t break the mould or give any great insights, but is held together by a fun energy that runs all the way through.
It wasn’t until I got three quarters of the way through this EP that I realised that – much like the time I was allowed to play football during detention by a teacher whose idea of discipline was, at best, lackadaisical – I was having fun, but I wasn’t learning anything. ‘Our Future’s Not Dead’ (though admittedly only 4 tracks long) suffers from a lack of depth, despite the band’s best intentions.
Penultimate track ‘Heart Stops’ is simultaneously very fun and very shallow. “When you’ve got nothing to say / keep singing this song / on and on / repeat it” pleads lead singer Jamie Giarraputo, forcing the listener to wonder if, instead of lyrics, young Jamie is accidentally reading from some margin notes he’s made to himself. To call this song deficient in the lyrics department would leave very few suitable adjectives left to describe the most vocabularily-challenged track of the bunch: opener ‘It Depends On You’, whose entire lyrics basically consist of “this is a warning” sang over differing intensities of guitars.
Guess what, though? These are both pretty good songs, and, though they take an attempt to create a hook-worthy, singalong chorus to an almost frustrating extreme, dumbing it down for the rest of us, they’re both saved by the spectacular punch packed by the rhythm section.
‘Heartstops’, despite what was just said, is the best track on the EP, and feels like the band took out all of the fluff out of a longer track and reduced it to just the enjoyable bits. Final track, ‘Past/Present’, is very tightly written, and manages to get another chunk of group singing in (this time intoning the titular “our future’s not dead”) before the very end.
They may be covering emotive topics, and (lightly) trying their hand at some “wake up, people” politics, but the true strength of this record lies in the gallons of gang vocals and the musicality, lending the whole thing a warmth that’s enjoyable, but just not very big. More like a small, bright firework.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.