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Dark Stares – 'The Lightning Echo' Album Review


1. You Know Me

2. Dance

3. Spell You've Cast

4. Crusader

5. Mr Midnight

6. The Shadows

7. Today

8. Faceless Man

9. In My Pocket

10. Misty Lanes

11. Dead And Gone

12. Rebel Angel

If St Albans based Alt Rock outfit Dark Stares are not on your radar yet, they should be. ‘The Lightning Echo’, follow up to ‘Darker Days Are Here To Stay’, is a collection of dark jewels that dare to shine more with every listen.

It opens with the wonderfully brazen ‘You Know Me’, and its precise fuzzy riffs give a reassuring sense of what’s to come. It’s the first release from the album and probably the best song. It doesn’t disappoint.

The heavy drums of ‘Dance’ come next and quickly move into a hypnotically rhythmic Eastern influenced middle eight before kicking back in for the denouement.

The songs are all relatively short with each track creeping just under or over the three-minute mark and you might be fooled into thinking that this is just be an album of ideas. You’d be wrong. Each song is crafted to near perfection, and while there’s a longing for some tracks to be extended because they are just that good, they weave the trick of leaving you wanting more.

An album of short Rock gems is not a new concept. Favourite exponents of the short form song amongst others is new wave band Wire, who on ‘154’ and ‘Chairs Missing’ particularly, ably deliver perfectly formed songs, in some cases under two minutes long. Dark Stares achieve this in similar fashion with a verve and the confident air of seasoned professionals.

What is more remarkable is that this ‘band of brothers’ have pretty much recorded, produced and mixed much of the album themselves. You wouldn’t know it as the production is crisp and precise but retains a drive and edge, and more importantly, a darkly engaging atmosphere through from start to finish.

The Suede-like ‘Today’ is perhaps the most commercial offering but still manages to incapsulate the signature sound of the album, despite its ethereal qualities.

‘Faceless Man’ has echoes of Arctic Monkeys with an Alex Turner style vocal line, which is extremely catchy and addictive.

There is something familiar about the sound Dark Stares produce and the challenge for them is to stand out from the others. On this showing there seems to be enough individuality in their song writing to carve out a niche for themselves and gain further traction.

Having already supported Enter Shikari and The Darkness in prominent gigs, their reach is extending and with world wide airplay already achieved, the boys have done well to get the name out there.

‘The Lightning Echo’ is a hugely impressive album, which is bound to make waves and win new admiration. Whether it is enough to take Dark Stares to the next level remains to be seen.

Review - Mark Welby Johnson

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