BRIGHT YOUNG FUTURE - Life On The Bridge (Album Review)

Danish duo Bright Young Future label themselves as 'collage pop', a perfectly-fitting genre classification. Their sophomore album "Life on the Bridge" melds delicate textures with flashes of experimental instrumentation, botched samples, and a beguiling production sensibility. The duo comprises artists Rune Risager and Jacob Abildgaard, and their hi-brow music is as idiosyncratic as it is instantly recognizable. They sound like what might happen if Oneohtrix Point Never kidnapped Justin Vernon and forced him to sing over abstract electronic production. Moments of serene beauty are interrupted by challenging bursts of glitchy electronic expression and vice versa. 

The album opens with "Birthday Party", which is awash in transcendent synths, sultry bass, and distant percussive hits before vocal samples of a child speaking come into the mix. Here, Bright Young Future set the listener up for an otherworldly journey through a creative digital hinterland. "What Have We Done Wrong" is a foreboding piece that sees siren-like wails and pitched vocals play over distant drums and exotic auditory textures. "Lazer Love" is a bit more accessible; a clattering of keys nicely offsets an acoustic guitar riff, and a steady drum beat keeps everything tied together well. There's a real sense of melody here, and some genuinely enchanting vocals are hidden beneath the rich blanket of sound. "In Front Of My Eyes" is a stellar album highlight, with the title repeated in varying tones and pitches, intoxicating the listener like a vodka shot before erratic drum hits sober them up again. "It Went Away" is a scattershot piece that only lasts for a minute and a half, but Bright Young Future manages to sneak in glacial synths, soulful vocals, and sweeping strings. 

Elsewhere, "Solo Night" features some sexy electric guitar and piano that set a pleasant mood and showcase the quality of musicianship the group is capable of if they weren't so busy experimenting. "End Summer In The Sun" is a thrilling alien rock song with hard-hitting drums and an industrial backbone that morphs into a poppy chorus ("Still living the nightmare / Stop living in the past"). "I Saw You Flying" opens with bleep-bloops that segue into woozy passages of soulful singing and romantic lyrics ("I wandered through the city in the pouring rain"). "Your Solar System" is bizarre but extraordinary, and the self-titled closing track is a short but sweet comedown that helps guide the listener back into reality. 

Even for an album as abstract as this one, there are plenty of accessible and easy-listening moments. Much like the weather of the Nordic country from which they hail, temperatures can change from summery warmth to icy cool in a flash. As a result, these recordings have a mysterious quality, much like an abstract painting that is open to interpretation. Keep observing long enough, and a message will eventually appear to you. As you listen, there are many layers of mood to dissect and examine; simply fascinating work.


BRIGHT YOUNG FUTURE - Life On The Bridge (Album Review)
Reviewed by Jay Honeycomb on August 19th 2022
Rating: 4