Album Review: RJ Thompson – Echo Chamber

RJ Thompson is a name fast growing as one of the country’s most promising singer-songwriters. He’s an artist that doesn’t mince words when it comes to taking a political stance – tracks ‘London’ and ‘Echo Chamber’ didn’t exactly sit on the fence with his views on Brexit and narrow-minded opinions.

Perhaps it’s because to Thompson, hard-work isn’t an alien concept to a man who’s grafted for every opportunity that’s come his way, earning his big break through playing everything from pubs, clubs and grassroots music venues in his native North-East. His talent was unearthed one night in Hartlepool, when a sound engineer working at an open mic night submitted Thompson as a support act – which ultimately lead to a thirty show-strong tour of the UK and Europe. Deacon Blue, Gabrielle Alpin and Jools Holland are just a few names that Thompson supported in that time. Soon after his touring success, the release of few LP’s and a live album came along.

Now, Thompson’s stepping out with his first full studio LP, Echo Chamber.  Serving as a sonic departure from his traditional singer-songwriter background, the album features guest appearances from John Waugh (The 1975’s saxophone player) and ex-Bellowhead cellist Rachael McShane. After a the initial first few minutes, a love for analogue synthesizers and strong electronic-pop melodies becomes evident. Tracks like ‘The Girl & The Gunman’, ‘Echo Chamber’ and ‘Think About You’ display distinctive retro arpeggios and lush synth chords – perfected with a contemporary mixdown and epic production standard.

On Echo Chamber’s inspiration, Thompson 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 favourite 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 favourite 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.”