Call Me Lightning – The Trouble We’re In (CD)

Ahh, this band is named after a Who song. Psychedelic imagery is all over their disc, and they mention Led Zepplin in their press release. I’m afraid. Starting out their disc with the retro-rock that is all the rage, along with a spastic base a la flea’s work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, what results in Call Me Lightning’s first track is something that should appeal to all listeners. However, the band is so chaotic and sloppy that no one but their own mothers will be able to stand them. Different flashes of their influences come through but to such a degree that it seems more as if they are just stealing riffs from a Who song or a Doors track than being influenced by them. The more restrained “Ghosts in the Mirror” is more palatable but does little to stave off the sloppy playing that indelibly marks the disc – there just is much less to work with. In fact, the ever present bassline of Bill provides some much needed melody to a disc that was previously nothing more than three people trying to vie for the loudest and most noticeable position on the disc.

Mixing Radiohead with the Doors for “Asses to Ashes”, Nathan’s vocals lie willy-nilly over the musical nest that was created for the track, with decent results. The mastering of this disc is spotty at places, but “Asses to Ashes” shows one place where everyone is given an equal shot. The wholesale theft of their influences dissipates through the disc, and when Nathan actually allows eirself to create things that are purely Call Me Lightning on the guitar, a track like “Pizza Party” results. “Pizza Party” is marked by a geometric, sharp guitar line that provides a diametric opposite to Bill’s bass.

After the first few tracks, Call Me Lightning stops trying to be innovative and merely plays a brand of Kinks-influenced rock with obligatory synthesizers. On a track like “Golden Radical (Young Professional)”, a truly trite drum beat is placed alongside a synthesizer line that can only be described as reminiscent of the soundtrack from an early nineties computer RPG. Any spontaneity that Nathan has during eir vocal duties is negated by the purely rote and repetitive instrumentation to be found on every track on “The Trouble We’re In”. There is honestly nothing on this disc that should be reason enough for a person to spend $13.99.

Top Tracks: Horseflies, Pizza Party

Rating: 4.8/10

Call Me Lightning – The Trouble We’re In / 2004 Revelation Records / 10 Tracks / http://www.callmelightning.com / http://www.revelationrecords.com / Reviewed 22 January 2005

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