Monday, March 6, 2017

The Flashpot Moments - s/t

The Flashpot Moments - s/t 

Tim Cawley’s project The Flashpot Moments is one of the most impressive melodic hard rock albums you’ll hear in the last decade. His singing and songwriting dominates the entire album and it’s clear from the beginning that he’s a confident all-around performer who had a focused vision for what this album needed to do. The eleven songs on The Flashpot Moments never shoot over the listener’s head and, instead, connect with the audience on their level through a mixture of the personal, familiar, and anthemic. His talent for writing memorable hooks and choruses sets this apart. On the surface, such skills might seem rather easy to have, but it’s no small feat to write songs, time in and out, that stick in a listener’s memory and compel their bodies to move. Cawley, however, shows a seemingly effortless ability for this and his vocals are full of charisma. He gets these songs over and the melodies are his best vehicle for doing so, but he shows surprising range as a lyricist in this genre as well. 

“Strangers Dance” is the first song that really shows that talent for songwriting. Cawley’s songs attempt to tap into a common thread of experience we all share and this track does a better job than most of pulling that off. It gains added impact thanks to its straight-ahead, catchy melody and the way keyboards and guitar alike double down on that central hook. The chorus, as well, is one of the album’s strongest moments. The two track “’Splode (The Party Prelude)” and “Abigail, Mispronounced (The Party Aftermath)” might be a little too thought out in their titles, but they are musically entertaining together and apart. The songwriting is full of some understated, knowing humor and outright laugh while the vocals show a lot of variety to bring out the storytelling elements in each. “The Learning Curve” is a wise, hard rocking track that comes at listeners from the beginning and never relents. He keeps things well focused here while the following song “Hands Up!” toughens the six string approach while give the musical arrangement many more changes in direction than we hear on “The Learning Curve”. There’s less melody on these songs than we hear elsewhere on The Flashpot Moments, but the riffs still have enough melody to further engage listeners. 

“Can’t Wait to Find Out” is the last outright rock song on the album and, arguably, it’s most complete effort in that area. The riffing is much more tempered here than on “Hands Up!” and there’s an increased emphasis on the lyrics, but the ultimate emotional impact of his songwriting here cuts much deeper. The Flashpot Moments ends with the lengthy “The Last Stand” and there’s an abundance of vivid musical moments in this song living up to Cawley’s ambition for the album. This is as memorable of a rock album as you’ll hear in 2017 and it powers along with equal parts imagination and raw strength. Tim Cawley will have to go a long way to improve on this, but it’s so good that it isn’t difficult to imagine. 

9 out of 10 stars 

Montey Zike

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