Released: October 7
RJ Thompson Returns With His Most Ambitious Music Yet On “Yearbook”
Arriving two years after its UK Top 5 release “Lifeline”, the LP documents the multi-instrumentalist’s journey through the Covid-19 pandemic as he rides a wave of creativity through a period of social isolation .
“I was stuck in a room writing songs on my piano but dreaming of something much bigger,” he explains. “In the end, for the most part, we’ve all been stuck in bedrooms for two years, but we dreamed of all those places we hadn’t been in ages, all those people we hadn’t seen.
“Dreaming of a much bigger world outside the door is basically what I did with this record.”
Opening with pre-cut your money or your lifethe track sets the tone for an album that blends classic indie-pop soundscapes with epic synth patterns with an overall sense of escapism.
Returning to the full sound of his first long-player, feel alive is a searing number that wouldn’t seem out of place on any of The Killers’ albums, while the equally brilliant save you is another example of RJ’s fine pop sensibility.
While the up-tempo moments on “Yearbook” are the most immediate, it’s the more experimental, mid-tempo tracks that best demonstrate his musicianship and lyrical flair.
‘It’s the longest day of the year / I just want to disappear / Towards a cold and dark December,’ he sings on The longest day of the year – a soft, introspective cut that sees the star reflected on another era – while the pairing of acoustic guitars and atmospheric synths on Forest fires is sublime.
‘You dream big screen,’ he reflects on the shine Cutting room floora track that sees him come to terms with fragments of a failed relationship around an instrumental anthem that begs to be performed live.
The “Directory” experience extends beyond the music; the physical disc features revolutionary augmented reality technology with bonus content that changes with the time of day, year and weather, via the accompanying free IOS and Android app.
With over 300 living, breathing covers to discover over time, it’s a unique component that plays on how we interact with music, once again highlighting RJ’s enduring creativity.
With the odds against him, the singer-songwriter emerges from the dust of the past two years with his strongest and most accomplished material to date; ‘Yearbook’ is a triumph of an album, placing its sound somewhere between Beck and Brandon Flowers, that deserves to be heard and played again and again – each time with something new to discover…
‘Directory’ is available now.