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Laser Flames On The Great Big News (Album Premiere)

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The Internet has bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon many of us, including music writers; the daily flood of advance album promos that soak our inboxes are a curse and a blessing. Most of us will never have the time to listen to all, or even most, of them. It becomes a shrewd elimination game: is there a name or a keyword in the PR blurb that wins us over? A good ‘Recommended If You Like’ reference? The first minute of a song that intrigues us enough to pursue the whole thing? It’s quite easy to make the jump from that process to bypassing releases based off project names alone. Laser Flames On The Great Big News is a bright, shining example of why it’s imperative not to fall into that trap. Awkward name? Yes. Good songs? A much more emphatic yes.

Led by a powerful, dramatic vocal duo in John Judkins (Rwake, ex-Today Is The Day) and Stevie Bailey (Christine), Laser Flames craft beautiful rock melodies with a dark Americana underbelly. Their catchy 2012 release Lambs To The Slaughter contains more straightforward Southern rock, but Laser Flames casts a wider net. The male/female vocal duet and guitar crunch of “31 Years” recalls both Murder By Death and Black Mountain, while “Lashes” has a strong QOTSA vibe, right down to Bailey’s Homme-esque vocal inflections.

“Open Dead And Doomed” creates a harrowing atmosphere, reverbed guitar chords ringing out as Bailey’s spoken word verses build intensely until the chorus mercifully breaks it all back down again; it’s not hard to see why Steve Austin shows up on this track. Laser Flames’ longest song, “Beloved”, covers more ground than anything the band has attempted yet. Starting as a conventional 4/4 hard rock song, it soon morphs into a sludge jam (guest vocals here courtesy of CT from Rwake) before transitioning into a Thin Lizzy dueling lead gallop, then slowing to a near-halt for some 16 Horsepower/Wovenhand atmospherics before a grand metal finale. “Flame High” finishes the proceedings with another study in ‘soft/loud’ dynamics, demonstrating the band’s masterful transition skills. Few groups sound just as good turned to 11 as they do at whisper level. Don’t let the name fool you; Laser Flames On The Great Big News deserves your full attention.

Stream Laser Flames On The Great Big News below.

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