The Brightlights send us time-travelling with the release of their long lost album “Make It Last”.
There aren’t many bands out there who are quite so willing to describe their music as “terrible by today’s standards”, but The Brightlights are one of them. There’s a reason behind this self-deprecating jibe, though; Make It Last is the mid-noughties long lost album that never was. The band recall celebrity parties at Richard Branson’s mansion, stealing Lily Allen’s Jagermeister, and I like to imagine that at least one band member hung off Alexa Chung’s arm during festival season ’07…
The nine-track album was initially recorded with Grant Nicholas (Feeder) at the helm between 2005 and 2008, and the sound is particularly reminiscent of those hazy days spent in fields wearing fingerless gloves and tiaras. Back in the day when you just plugged a band in and said “go!” – but actually, it still works. The Brightlights parted ways before the album could be released, but Make It Last has certainly lasted the test of time.
The title track, “Make It Last”, kicks off the album with festival-style anthemic synths and beats that a 15-year-old you would have been happy to mosh to. Frontman Leon Blanchard’s raw, half-sung-half-yelled vocal rings out over thrashing drums and thick guitars in hooky second track “Inspired By”, followed by the rousing and energetic “Another Night” (this one would have sat nicely against “Mr Brightside” in a drunken pub singalong).
Fourth track “3” takes an equally as upbeat, yet heart-on-sleeve approach to the songwriting, ending with an anthemic final chorus and plenty of feedback, blending smoothly into the retro organ that brings in the catchy melodies of “Australia”. A welcome breather, this track saves the anthemic instrumentation until the second half of the song – one to get your lighters out for. The Arctic Monkeys influence is strong in “Stops & Starts”, which aptly follows a slightly hectic structure, but “Not the End of the World” provides a little more structure in all its mellifluous glory.
Piano-led “Something’s Changed” is a surefire crowd-pleaser with a moment’s peace leading into a singalong B-section, and into the contemplative first verse of the final song “Wait In Line”. It’s a stripped-back appeal to those who love a good ballad, and to my surprise, this one doesn’t develop into a huge headline-slot finale; rather a gentle ‘thank you for listening, we may (or may not) be back soon’ sort of goodbye.
Make It Last is one of the last great live albums to have been written. It is true of a time before streaming services and before megabucks social media platforms, and transports its listeners to a time where we all had shit hair and absorbed live music without having to add an hour’s worth of iPhone footage to our Instagram stories to prove we were there. It’s simple, effective, and a stark reminder of how much the music industry has changed.
If you’d like to know more about The Brightlights, they no longer have a Myspace, but they do have plenty of links where you can find them below…