(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, September 13, 2010

CD review - Call Me Lightning, When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free (2010)

Call Me Lightning took their name from a song by the Who and When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free provides their chance to channel the Who's energy and inspiration.

Their sound is immersed in early period Who, particularly A Quick One. They also throw in sonic references to Quadrophenia and other early albums. The intensity reaches for Live at Leeds with some success. The Who's rhythm section was the heart of their sound: Keith Moon's rambunctious drum attack paired with John Entwistle's structured, lead style bass lines provided a foundation for Pete Townshend's rhythmic flail.

Call Me Lightning understands this dynamic. The guitar is solid, the drums are hyper and booming, but it's the bass work that brings them closest to the Who's power trio musical sound.

The band leavens this Who-fest with a manic punk energy borrowed from Green Day and a vocal/lyrical approach like Too Much Joy. But, When I Am Dead... is no mere knock of of any of these bands. They bring an earnest honesty to their songs. Coupling this sincerity with a sense of reckless abandon, they seem unwilling to settle for any kind of skinny studio feel. This big sound helps make it a great album.

Called to the Throne hits like a tidal wave. The extended intro builds the expectations for the song. When the rolling drum work and busy bass line take off and the vocals come in, it's like crossing American Idiot with the angst of Quadrophenia.

Bronze Hell takes elements of A Quick One, While He's Away, specifically the "We have a remedy" section (along with a touch of Happy Jack). The lyrics mostly sound like Townshend's work, but the bridge has Too Much Joy's sardonic fatalism:
When I was born, a child
My father took me aside
My daddy said to me,
"My boy, you will not be
A man, until you fall in love...
And then you fuck it up"
The rest of When I Am Dead... is full of gems, from going-to-hell acceptance of the title track to the Jane's Addiction bounce of Old Cactus. Check out their MySpace page to hear a few of these. Call Me Lightning hits an interesting balance by giving themselves over to their inspiration without being a shadow copy or losing their sense of identity.

This is solid double IPA music: aggressive, cathartic, and satisfying.

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