Bringing the 80’s into 2018..
RJ Thompson is an artist that can look back on 2017 with some fond memories.. Touring with Jools Holland twice, a release of his debut album, and some significant critical support online. He’s not one to mine his words when it comes to socio-political issues either. Many of his tracks such as London and Echo Chamber (The album’s title track) have taken aim at Brexit & bigoted opinions in the U.K.
RJ doesn’t take anything for granted though, as an artist who’s had to graft for every great opportunity that’s come his way. He got his big breakthrough consistently playing grass-roots music venues, pubs, and clubs in his native North-East. It was a night in Hartlepool where the work paid off. A sound engineer at an open mic night was working with Live Aid organizer and Ultravox frontman Midge Ure. The engineer submitted RJ as a support act, leading to more than 30 shows touring the UK and Europe. Support shows with Gabrielle Aplin, Deacon Blue and Jools Holland (including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall) soon followed as well as several EPs and a live album.
Now RJ is stepping out with his first solo, studio album. Echo Chamber is a total departure from his previous work. He’s swapped out the pop, acoustic male singer-songwriter gloss for a distinctive retro sound. Created with vintage drum machines, analog synthesizers and no small amount of funky guitar riffs. On the album, RJ explains..
“I wrote this album almost entirely over a 2-month period, recorded it the following month, and now it’s here and ready to be released. It’s the most focused I have ever been as a songwriter and I think that comes across… I knew what I wanted the album to be, exactly how I wanted it to sound, and with the help of my producer, we’ve made a genuine body of work that perfectly represents who I am and the artist I want to be. I wanted the album to feature elements of my favorite music from my childhood, so you can certainly hear synth and percussion sounds throughout the album that wouldn’t be out of place on Thriller or Bad. Even the length of the album is a nod to some of my favorite records. We are carrying that mindset through to the music videos too. The first video (for the title track) pulls in influences from some classic 80s movies like The Breakfast Club.”
It’s a bold and impressive display from the artists. There’s a consistent sonic theme throughout all the tracks, and nowhere is this more evident than in the melancholic and anthemic Skimming Stones.
Echo Chamber is available to stream everywhere here