Press Reviews of Year One

Already Heard

Hailing from the not-so-sunny seaside town of Eastbourne comes Laurie Cottingham, AKA Brightr. He brings to the table a captivating twelve track emotionally-fuelled record ‘Year One’. A very personal record, honesty runs deep throughout ‘Year One’ as acoustic melodies and authentic lyricism permeate throughout.

‘We’ introduces the record to everything that the album will be. Cottingham’s gentle voice is comforting which compels you to listen to each word. Paired perfectly with upbeat, pacey acoustic strums, ‘Lanterns’ is very short but very sweet and one to replay. The range and perseverance of Cottingham’s strong vocal abilities is displayed in ‘Like Paper’ which comes complete with a main airy and intricate acoustic riff.

A future crowd pleaser for sure, ‘Clearly More Ruined Than Rome’ echoes memorable lyrics and comes with an addicting tempo. It’s once again a very short song but packs what it needs to into the short minute in a half that it is played for. ‘Sleeping for the Week’ is a different one. Reflective, sweeping and slow with poignant lyrics carry the song which at the latter end abruptly snaps into the up-tempo pace notable in the previous tracks. Carried by the subtle use of simple, upbeat percussion, ‘Incredible Pens’ draws the fresh new record to a close and has left Brightr very welcome to return with new material.

‘Year One’ is an incredibly humble and raw record – something that you don’t see very often – and is a perfect example of what good old gloomy emo pop should be like. The intricate mathy acoustic guitar is the shining star along with Laurie’s consistently emotion-filled vocals. Arguably, it takes a lot to sit through a 12-track record and listen to each song in full but with ‘Year One’, you will most definitely want to do this.



Self-described as gloomy emo-pop, Eastbourne’s Brightr takes inspiration from some pretty great acts; think a mix of Into It. Over It., Motion City Soundtrack and Jack’s Mannequin and you’re about there. After stints in numerous bands, Laurie, the great mind behind Brightr, is now venturing out into the world on his own with his debut album ‘Year One’.

Tracks such as ‘Sleight of Hand’ and ‘Alright, Okay’ displays Brightr’s rich, autumnal tones, as his lyrics tumble over a flurry of strong, quick guitar work. His vocals are the real diamond here, they’re captivating and huge yet gently lilt during songs like ‘Lanterns’. Throughout the course of this album, Brightr constantly displays a sublime beauty, from the gently picking of his guitar to his mighty vocals. ‘Clearly More Ruined than Rome’ and ‘Sleeping For the Week’ simply soar and are absolute delights to listen to.

His lyrics are hopefully optimistic. During ‘We’, lines such as “We are the ones who always try to do our best” display a sweet sense of hope that’ll get people singing along at his shows with a drink in one hand and their best friend/lover/pet cat in the other. And then you have ‘Incredible Pens’, which is a stunning and haunting close to this album. After five minutes of silence, Laurie’s voice breaks through, as strong and unwavering as it’s been throughout the course of this album.

Brightr’s drawn on personal and emotive experiences to bring an album that’s personable and friendly. Sure, he’s singing about some not-so-great things, but he’s got a wonderful sense of optimism that everything will turn out okay in the end. We need more people like Brightr roaming the music world.


Una sera – una delle poche sere in qui I fantastici 4 interrompono la loro vita da settantenni fatta di coperte con le braccia, calze a forma di animali, video di gatti e Netflix – eravamo all’Honky, meno a caso del solito perché era il compleanno di Mazza. Suonavano delle band un po’ troppo  HC per i nostri gusti “too pop for the punk kids”, quindi l’idea di base era quella di presenziare.

Sedute al solito tavolino, prendiamo i nostri caffè (senza cannuccia), i nostri drink da femmine, e parliamo di cose irrilevanti tipo laurearsi, andare a Miami alla festa dell’aglio e vedere i TBS, i saldi, persone e cose, quando ad un certo punto la nostra attenzione viene completamente catturata dalla voce del tipello sul palco.

”Mazza chi è questo che suona?”

”Si chiama Brightr” .

Brightr è il nome del progetto solista di Laurie Cottingham, nato dall’incapacità del cantautore di non fare musica dopo lo scioglimento della sua ultima band, e “Year One” è il suo primo full length, fatto di 12 brani onesti ed introspettivi.

Il disco parte con “We” da cui possiamo già intuire i tratti distintivi e la direzione in cui si muove questo lavoro: chitarra acustica trascinante e melodie catchy cantate da una voce calda, sincera e affettuosa.

Il disco va giù liscio e piacevole come tè caldo e biscotti in un pomeriggio invernale, raggiungendo l’apice in brani come “Lanterns” o “Clearly More Ruined Than Rome”.

Sonorità ricche e soffici ma rese graffianti dai testi emozionanti e personali, con quel qualcosa di ammaliante che riesce ad incantare e a non far distogliere l’attenzione.

Il tutto si chiude con “Incredible Pens” (se non ti va di aspettare svariati minuti in silenzio), il brano più upbeat del disco, che però parla dei fenomeni che fanno i leader politici su Facebook ma poi nella vita si lamentano con la mamma quando qualcuno gli passa davanti in posta (magari usando immagini più poetiche e parole più convincenti delle mie).

”Year One” è un disco bello. Bello nella definizione degli esteti di bello.

Bello come i pancake a colazione, confortevole come il proprio posto sul divano.

Year One è la voce di un amico che ne ha viste delle belle ma te le racconta sempre col sorriso sulle labbra.


Press Live Reviews


Talking of talent, Brightr (5/5) (aka, a very beardy, heavily tattooed and softly spoken Laurie) is utterly captivating. If you’re planning on going to any of the subsequent shows on the tour, I cannot stress this enough – GET THERE EARLY. Sadly, as is the norm when faced with watching one chap with an acoustic guitar, some folk deem themselves more important, talking loudly throughout. It’s a real bugbear of mine – but more fool them, as Brightr could just be our very own answer to Owen or Into It. Over It. His guitarwork is frequently astonishing, recalling the mathy Kinsella-style of noodling. But he combines this with huge hooks and big choruses and he’s got a bloody fantastic set of pipes. The Hindsights boys are certainly enamoured – they head down the front and provide impromptu backing vocals on the killer ‘We’. Brilliant stuff.


Already Heard (by Rob Mair)

There is something undeniably exciting about a great split EP. Two bands slugging it and spurring each other on, perhaps a nod of respect to each other with a top class cover, and the warm fuzzy feeling that everyone in this tiny little scene is looking out for each other.

I think back to splits between Hot Water Music and Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World and Jebediah (and Jejune), The Dismemberment Plan and Juno, and more recently Balance and Composure and Tigers Jaw, and you can find some of these bands’ greatest songs buried in these records. It may be too soon in the respective careers of Brightr and Veto to suggest we’re looking at the same level of adulation, but they’ve delivered a very special split EP all the same. more

The first thing that you’ll notice is that musically, in the vein of all great splits, there’s not much common ground between the warm acoustic emo of Brightr and the atmospheric, occasionally abrasive indie-punk of Veto. Truth be told, that’s exactly what I want from a split single. There’s a clear respect there, but there’s little danger of either act ploughing the same furrow. Instead, you get plenty of peaks and troughs and a nice about-turn in sound and style as you switch from Brightr to Veto.

The EP opens with Brightr’s ‘You Wish You Were Here’, a jaunty little number which shows the excellent range and gorgeous textures of Laurie Cottingham’s vocals. It’s an all-too-brief 2 minutes, but is hugely enjoyable. Meanwhile, ‘Alright, Okay’ pushes the envelope further. It’s wonderfully arranged, and Cottingham puts everything into it vocally.

‘Just So You Know I Lost My Balance’ is an older song, written about the death of Cottingham’s friend. Lyrically it’s probably not as strong as the other two originals, but it’s still packed with emotion. Cottingham’s a hugely believable and sincere narrator and songs such as this just reinforce the fact. Finally, Brightr concludes his half of the split with a ripping take on Veto’s ‘I Feel Like Steven Glansberg’. Cottingham absolutely makes the track his own, in much the same way as Hot Water Music’s ‘Radio’ is every bit as good as the original.

Veto are a much different proposition, yet no less exciting. In fact, they match Cottingham stride for stride and beat for beat. ‘Wallflower’ is a ragged, raw, percussive-light blast. It’s a clever move, as it is the song on their half of the split which is closest to the intimate sounds of Brightr. It’s an emotive cut, building to a frenzied conclusion, dark in tone and mood. After the ringing chords of Brightr it’s a superb piece of judgement and the perfect introduction to their half of the split.

‘Red Granite’ is a much more straightforward indie-punk song, with some rather great gang vocals and some wonderful changes in tempo. Overall it’s probably the highlight of what is a class collection of songs. Finally Veto round things off with a cover of Brightr’s ‘Sleight of Hand’. It’s thrashy and messy and a huge amount of fun. The only criticism of the split is that I just wish the Veto half was slightly better recorded and mixed. There’s a top class band stuck behind an annoyingly flat production job, and even though it’s a minor complaint as the songs themselves are uniformly excellent, it does conjure up a ‘what if?’ moment.

Still, the beauty of such a split is I’m desperate to know what Brightr and Veto will do next and, as you will struggle to find a better or more rounded split single this year, it really is a job well done by all concerned.