Hiyurrr, I’m Laurie, also known as the one human gloom pop machine Brightr. Music has been one of the biggest parts of my life for as long as I can remember and I’m lucky to get to do some incredible things because of it.
Choosing three albums was bloody tough, but here are three of the many many albums that grabbed me by the mind and feels over the years, helping to shape the being I am today.
Hopesfall – The Satellite Years
Even though it was bands like Bane, Have Heart, Poison the Well and H2O that pulled the little early teen pop punk/grungey/metal me in to the direction of hardcore, it was this album by Hopesfall that opened my ears to melodic-post-hardcore-or-whatever-you-would-call-it. Filled with soaring melodies, catchy breaks and incredible time changes that made the songs flow more like stories to me, and capped with ever-shifting vocals between screams and singing that just blew my mind at the time. For me this band encapsulated everything that I wanted to hear from melodic hardcore and they haven’t been challenged for the crown since. As well as this record the EP that preceeded it (No Wings To Speak Of) is out of this bloody world!
Owen – At Home With Owen
Late teens/early twenties me was sad. A sad, nervous, bitter wreck, with endless social anxiety that I used to mask with alcohol, drugs and ill-advised physical contact whilst high on said substances. At that time I was in need of a wake up and this album was a complete wake up for me. With the painfully blunt self-evaluating words from opening song ‘Bad News’ (“Whatever it is you think you are, you aren’t. A good friend, unique, well-read, good looking, or smart. Well now you know.) I was hooked. This record tore me down, made me look at myself and wake up to who I was becoming and who I didn’t want to be. It’s also really bloody great and full of vocal hooks, crazy guitar twiddling and some insanely skilled songwriting ability. I have no idea what Mike Kinsella meant with the words in this record, whether it was aimed at himself or others or simply fiction, but it spoke to me throughout in a way that no counsellor ever could and made me want to be someone better. I guess in many ways this record also years later impacted my decision to take the scary leap in to becoming a solo musician and inspired me to write lyrics as honest and difficult as those I had connected so closely with on this album.
Hundred Reasons – Ideas Above Our Station
All in all I must’ve seen HR live over 60 times in my mid to late teens. I had the awesome pleasure of watching them grow from entertaining audiences intimate audiences at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, to playing Glastonbury and headlining Brixton Academy. Their work rate blew my mind and every time I met them was such a pleasure. One of my favourite memories (and my go to when explaining the glory years of physical cd purchases and record shops to those of the digital era) is waking up at the crack of dawn to travel on a 30 minute bus ride, to then wait outside my local record store for them to open so I could pick up my reserved/ordered copy of “ideas…”. I remember the cd went straight in to my Sony CD Walkman and was on repeat for weeks. There were so many UK bands I adored and would walk over glass to see around that era of my life (notably The Copperpot Journals, Douglas, thisGIRL) but HR were testament to the success you could achieve with crazy amounts of graft and although major label bullshit made things go off kilter for them, they will always be one of the most successful bands doing what they did in that time. If you haven’t heard this album, go listen. It’s packed wall to wall with catchy singalong bangers and never dissapoints.
Brightr is a solo emo/pop project based in Brighton, UK. Check out Laurie’s music on Spotify.