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The BellRays
- Black Lightning

With Black Lightning the band continue to do what they do best, creating a sonic cocktail of high octane, rockin’ and soulful tunes that were made to be listened to at full blast with a frosty pint in hand.

Glenn Waller

Jul 18th 2013 | Label: Sultan Sounds/MGM
The BellRays are quite the anomaly, musically speaking. Not quite a garage band, not quite punk, not quite soul – not quite like anything, really. Blending said styles and pulling it off is no mean feat, and with Black Lightning the band continue to do what they do best, creating a sonic cocktail of high octane, rockin' and soulful tunes that were made to be listened to at full blast with a frosty pint in hand.

Title track and album opener Black Lightning sets the album's tone beautifully, Lisa Kekaula's bellowing vocals taking the listener's ears for ransom at gun point. The gritty guitar line courtesy of Bob Vennum has all the attitude of a Ron Asheton riff, albeit a more up-tempo version. The intensity continues with Hell On Earth, which, at under two minutes is a short, swift slap that showcases drummer Stefan Litrownik's penchant for precise fills that are pounded out with thunder. Initially sounding like incidental music from a '70s cop show, third track Sun Comes Down is effective in its simplicity, taking a surprise turn to include falsetto backing vocals before rounding a tasteful corner onto soul street.

More rock'n'roll hijinks continues with ball-tearer On Top, before power ballad Anymore eases back on the throttle. The about turn of the heavily Ramones inspired Power To Burn invokes the spirit of Jonny Ramone; thankfully Vennum's short yet sweet guitar solo doesn't outstay its welcome. The album's dynamic continues on this bent, with ballsy numbers continuing until The Way presents itself as another soulful cherry on an otherwise rock cake. You Took Me By Surprise sounds surprisingly tacked on, but apart from this minor hiccup, the album flows nicely and rightly deserves a spin.

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