For a new listener like me, Flash Lightnin’s For the sinners is a revelation: a feverishly hot, groove-rocking, sweaty and bristly, full body- and mind-contact album. As the title suggests, For The Sinners has a dark vein running right through it, throbbing with all sorts of bad love, cheating, illegal highs, addiction, and lust – and there are sharp, barbed and heavy hooks in both the music and lyrics that dig in under your skin, until you wake up with a tune stuck in your head three days in a row (true story).
This is rock with weight and presence. Producer Gavin Brown does double duty as drummer; Darcy Yates on bass puts a hefty rumble and bottom heavy swing into the tunes; while Darren Glover’s guitar takes off into a fuzzy, groovy, fiery head-space of its own. And then there’s Glover’s marvel of a voice: I don’t know if it’s just me (it’s not just me, right?) but there are times on For The Sinners when he reminds me enough of John Lennon that it makes me do a double-take. And hell yes, that is a good thing.
“Last Breath” rips the album open with its fast pounding, raw and ragged beat and the frenzied love-desperation of the lyrics: “there’s a knife up against my throat, I push it in ‘til it scrapes the bone”. It’s followed by the track that got me hooked on this band: “Dirty Penny” – an illicitly hooky beast of a tune that swaggers down the street like it owns the place: “front row is for sinners”, indeed. I swear this track is sonic Velcro that just will not unstick, and when that guitar breaks away, with the bass tugging it down… oh, mercy!
Cheating-love track “Put Your Lips On Me” is another favourite, dropping into an excellent heavy, spaced out guitar-bass-drum love session at the end. After that the band launches into the fast and fierce punk-pop-rock beat of “On The Radio”, before lighting the fuse with “Born With Money” – one of the album’s highlights – all groove, heavy backbone, and an irresistibly catchy chorus. Defiance and righteous anger have seldom sounded so good.
“Hard Feelings” is the only ballad here, but it’s a good one – its sadness and regret sweetened by the mellow acoustic guitar, making it one of the best tracks on the album.
There are no filler tracks on For The Sinners: “One Pill” is all hot and bothered with feverish frustration, while the spacey “Let’s Get High” has a fab 60s/70s rock simplicity to it. “Free Country” is another killer tune with a rumbling, far-out groove, before the band closes out the album with the spacy, twisted and totally mesmerizing “I Get Up” – a tune that coils and sways itself into a psychedelic, hazy dreamscape.
What can I say? Hooks, lines, sinkers – I’m a goner for this album. Flash Lightnin’ is based in Toronto, has been around since 2007, and has won accolades from none other than ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons (I’m guessing for more than just the beards). If you haven’t made the band’s acquaintance yet, you should remedy that ASAP.
- Last Breath
- Dirty Penny
- Put Your Lips On Me
- On The Radio
- Born With Money
- Hard Feelings
- One Pill
- Let’s Get High
- Free Country
- I Get Up
- Darren Glover: guitars/vocals
- Darcy Yates: bass
- Gavin Brown: drums (and also the album’s producer!)