I have been spinning this album off and on for a little while now. When I first went to write my review, I wasn’t feeling it as much and then we had the great freeze in Texas where we lost our power and just tried to stay warm. The album clicked soon after that, and, while I don’t quite see it being in my top 10 at the end of the year, I am really enjoying the album more with every listen.
The Flaming Sideburns first came onto my radar when they did their split album with the Hellacopters many many years ago which I loved, with the band itself tracing its roots back over 25 years now. After many years, they have returned with this new album that finds the band staying true to their roots.
‘Silver Flame’ has proven to really be a grower as an opener. For whatever reason, it took me more time to really connect with this slice of action rock. The chorus contains a solid hook, and that guitar refrain does get lodged in the head. Follow up ‘Perfect Storm’ feels slightly more subdued until the chorus grabs you by the neck and pours itself into your head. Musically, this one swims in the same musical pool as the Hellacopters around the ‘High Visibility’ and ‘By the Grace of God’ period. The slow opener of ‘A Song for Robert’ hits the heart hard with the band turning the energy up as a celebration of life before settling back into a somber ending that just really works well for all the song is capturing.
Up next, ‘Cast Out My Demons’ has a beat that I really enjoy, but the song overall is not one of my favorites from the album. With the way the album has grown on me, I might be feeling different in the future. ‘Reverberation (Doubt)’ oozes out of the speakers with a slow groove that remains one of my favorites from my first listen. The vocal hook is simple but works incredibly well. Musically, it lives up to its title as it will take your mind and soul on a journey if you close your eyes and give into the music. Closing out the first half of the album, the guys channel some straight forward classic rock with ‘Lighthouse Keeper.’ The chorus is a grower while the musical hook will sink its teeth into the listener first, with the break in the song serving to make the end of the first half of the album rather special.
Kicking off the second half of the album, ‘Soulshaking’ explodes out of the speakers with a shot od adrenaline. The chorus induces everyone listening to sing, and I have found myself on occasion wondering if this album would have grabbed me right away if this were swapped with the album opener. The action rock continues with ‘Searching Like a Hyena’ keeping the musical urgency at a high level, even if I have found myself pondering how a hyena actually does search for things. It would be a cool world though to hear teenage boys dedicating this to girls on radio stations around the world. ‘Freak Out’ does not stay around long with its awesome groove making it another one of my favorites.
‘Neverending’ slows the pace a bit and feels like a slower brilliant nugget from the 60’s that ramps up more intensity as it progresses. It provides some great musical depth to the album as well. ‘Nibiru’ arises with a killer guitar riff and some backing vocals that perfectly set the tone. This is another of my favorites from the album, and I love how it leads into closer ‘Trance-Noche.’ If your body is not moving during the last two, I really don’t know what to tell you. My Spanish is rusty, but it doesn’t stop me from badly singing along while breaking out my air guitar.
As I said at the beginning, this one has been a grower of an album for me. Each listen brings out more and more from the album which is awesome for the listener. To borrow from the closing song- listen, listen now, give this album a few spins to worm its way into your musical world. You will be glad you did.
Buy ‘Silver Flames Here
Author: Gerald Stansbury
It’s Time to Testify (1999, Bad Afro Records, compilation)
Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah (2001, Bad Afro Records)
Save Rock’n’Roll (2002, Ranch Records/Jetset, US version of Hallelujah Rock’n’Rollah)
Sky Pilots (2003, Ranch/Jetset; 2004 Bitzcore)
Keys to the Highway (2007, Ranch/Bitzcore)
Silver Flames (2021, Svart Records)