Flashlight is a collaboration album between Anubis guitarists Simon “Pharaoh” Lees and Simon “Horuvs” Haycock with a guest appearance by Sarah “Isis” Cockburn. Living up to the description of being amongst the forerunners of hardest working musicians in the Midlands area they bring us this which¸ in their own words¸ is an album in which “the songs vary from majestic rock pieces to long and cheeky rock’n’roll madness”.
To anyone who is familiar with Anubis the quality of the musicianship from these two hasn’t been questioned since the release of their debut album Sibuna. Bringing with them into the studio no fewer than eleven guitars / basses it seems evident that a fairly diverse album seems to be on the cards.
The opening track of Flashlight is a hard rock offering which proves lyrics can be inspired by a great variety of things¸ in this instance it is night-time fox visitations and not so mysterious chicken disappearances. The hard rock continues with track #2 Commonside¸ which serves to demonstrate that Lees and Haycock are more than capable of performing music of a different style than is typically found on an Anubis album. It is also easy to forget at times that you aren’t listening to the usual full complement of a band of two guitarists and a bass player.
The predicted diversity appears with Dreams Take Me Home and continues with New Beginning. A nod must surely go to the influence of Led Zeppelin for these songs or¸ at the very least¸ to that of 1970’s era rock where the soundbites appear to originate. In A Mexican Falls the vocals are laid to rest for what is¸ at a length of 6:55¸ the longest track on the album. Heavy on atmosphere for this reviewer it conjures up images of Spaghetti Westerns¸ perhaps the only thing missing is the image of Clint Eastwood uttering a line such as “Are you going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?”
From here the album seems to venture into the realm of the Anubian sense of humour with what is perhaps the previously mentioned “cheeky rock’n’roll madness” of Rock Bottom and Russian Winter respectively as neither track seems possessing of a content to be taken seriously.
Rounding off the album is Martha’s Harbour¸ in which Isis¸ to use her Anubis alias¸ takes over the vocal duties for this¸ a melodic rock ballad. The backing guitars have obviously been well-chosen as they are restrained enough for Isis’ exemplary vocal work to shine through and bring the album to a fitting close. In a way I wanted to hear more from her but I guess I’ll just have to wait for her own projects with Huw Lloyd Langton of Hawkwind and Sy Keeler from Onslaught to be released (what was it I said about hard working musicians again?)
All in all a worthy addition to the collection whether you are a fan of Anubis or not¸ well worth purchasing.
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