Heavy Southern Rock that’s going straight onto the playlist…
Allan Jones poured himself a bourbon and enjoyed his first album review of the year on 13 January…
I’m a bit of a fan of southern rock – there’s something about the bluesy, relaxed groove that goes along with it, I reckon. Well, it’s either that or the association with bourbon. I like bourbon. When a band comes out of Louisiana, then, it comes with a certain amount of expectation heaped upon them. I’m exceedingly happy to report that White Light Cemetery can well handle that expectation, serving up a solid dose of classic rock on their sophomore album.
Tonally, they sit somewhere in the spectrum that includes stoner rock and sludgy, bayou-bound metal of the likes of Down. It’s a solid wall of sound, with a gritty guitar-driven groove and flow to it that just gets your head banging and your feet tapping. There are plenty of nods to their forefathers along the way – the glorious dual-guitar solo on ‘Quit Work, Make Music’ (which might just be one of the best song titles, ever) would fit perfectly into Thin Lizzy, and they even work in some fantastic cowbell on ‘Bullet To Erase’ to round things off brilliantly. Everyone loves the cowbell.
This has groove and balls aplenty, with enough grit and fuzz to grind your teeth on. Better still, it’s not a one-trick pony – the band can kick back and rely on their groove to allow the music to have some space to breathe, or even to just create a slow burn as with the introductory track ‘Misery Loves Company’ or the Bad Company-esque ‘On A Dime’ with some very sparse guitar-work that builds to a lovely solo.
If I’m being (very) picky, there are points where the production could have been tighter – the drum and basslines can occasionally get lost in the mix a little, while the usually monstrous vocal sometimes wobbles a little here and there. Having said that, the roughness works for the album. It prevents it from getting too sterile, and adds to the overall charm – sometimes too much tidiness works against the band.
Overall, they’ve pulled a neat trick in managing to bring in their influences, wear them on their sleeve, and still sound distinctive. It might be only January, but I can see this one sticking around on my playlist all year round.
8 out of 10
- Misery Loves Company
- Sky River
- Looking Out (For Number One)
- On A Dime
- Quit Work, Make Music
- Better Days
- Bullet To Erase