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Introducing: Electric Revolution

posted November 22, 2015, 1:52 pm by Jason Hillenburg | Filed Under Introducing, Releases | comment Leave a Comment


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Everyone can know redemption. I’m not referring solely to church approved redemption, but any journey or moment restoring personal value and steering our days towards more productive ends. It never comes easy. Nothing worth anything in this life does. We fritter away so much of our time twiddling our thumbs waiting for someone or thing that might save us from ourselves, wipe our slates clean, or tell us who we are. There is no knight on horseback or fair maiden sweeping in to carry us away. The skies will not part and rain manna from heaven. If we snap out of it, we see turns in our personal stories as tied to our choices alone and we are our only way out of internal quicksand. It is a painful crawl, inch by bloody inch, and most never try.

Redemption wears many faces and the ten songs on Electric Revolution’s full-length debut, Character Is Power, stare it down from a variety of angles. What do you do when youthful excess becomes middle-aged desperation? What happens when you’ve pursued an elusive dream through thousands of Friday and Saturday nights, stop, look around, and see twenty plus years has evaporated like dew on the grass? How do you keep holding on after losing people you love and indicting yourself, in part, for their collapse? Electric Revolution searches and finds answers in these songs. The album’s ten tracks say many things, some of them simply about grabbing life by the scuff of its neck and enjoying it while it’s here, but they say something much larger as well. Knowing yourself, acting accordingly and never, come hell or high water, compromising what you love brings redemption.

It doesn’t come without fear. The album’s blues-spiked opener “Here We Go” rattles rafters with its breathless energy born every bit as much from fear of failure as lust for excitement. When lead singer Dave Lawson yowls, “I’m on the edge and I can’t look down…”, the risk jolts him as much as the reward. The band takes the plunge with him and blaze through an assortment of eye-popping changes and tempo shifts. Joe Gajan spews gritty blues fire from his slide guitar playing and the engine room of drummer Billie Pulera and bassist Steve Crucianelli provide a bottom end that never sacrifices power for flexibility. Crucianelli adds some memorably aggressive harmonica playing for an added bit of spice. “Save Me” rips a page straight out of Deep Purple’s MKIII’s playbook with Lawson and Pulera trading vocals. You can discern the obvious influences in Electric Revolution’s music, but they are never so apparent that the band risks imitation. Instead, their experiences, musical ability, and unique songwriting skills distill any borrowed elements into a much different brew. No other visible rock act offers this sort of hard-hitting, yet intensely musical, approach and the manic, white-knuckled passion of the music seamlessly dovetails with both men’s vocals.

“Killing Me” is another grinding blues rocker with strong lyrics and a committed, full-throated Lawson vocal. The relatively recent addition of Lawson to a band working as a power trio before his arrival immensely strengthens their presentation. Like many of their influences and iconic predecessors, Electric Revolution now boasts three capable singers and, as a result, virtually endless adaptability. “Killing Me” succeeds on another level – it’s a dazzling showcase for the band’s well-honed understanding of dynamics. The arrangement captures the song’s rising and falling and hooks listeners early. The first of many surprises comes with “Tragedy”, a melodic and meditative track that never neglects to dial up the rock for an impressive chorus. The band’s decision not to straitjacket themselves as strictly a blues-rock act sets them off exploring different textures here, but the blues and rock are never far away. Guitarist Joe Gajan stretches out here and his performance alone, if nothing else, justifies its inclusion here.

“Forgiveness” opens the album’s second half with a smoldering blues laced with tasteful organ. The keyboards fuel “Forgiveness” with a light gospel feel, an added layer of color, and another emotive Lawson vocal further underscores the elegiac mood. The interplay between Gajan, Crucianelli, and Pulera has impressive tightness born from equal parts talent and familiarity, but it’s difficult to go wrong with suggestive material and such a sturdy arrangement. The former point drives home another strength about Electric Revolution’s material – they draw it out of the meat and marrow of their individual lives, but listeners can still bring their own experiences to these tracks and feel satisfied. “What the Fuss” is whiplash-tight rocker with defiant attitude to burn and a chin high in the air. Lawson and Pulera exchange vocals again to superb effect and Gajan’s melodic lead guitar frequently catches fire. The real highlight, however, is Pulera and Crucianelli’s dominant performance that gives the album one of its best grooves.

The title track will surprise many. While “Tragedy” certainly shows the band is far from one-dimensional rockers, “Character Is Power” reveals them as musical high wire artists who believe there’s no reward without risk. It’s an outright funk song with a smattering of rock and roll added for extra potency, any hard rock purists who frown at such genre hopping can take off their bibs and find the door. This is what real artists do. Crucianelli’s meaty bass line threads through the track like a dark, slinking undertow while a number of brief and subtle tempo shifts from Pulera keeps attentive listeners on their toes. The falsetto vocal is another nice, unexpected touch. “You Are Here” turns the band back towards rock, but they show a lighter touch with this song than earlier numbers. There’s a radio-ready quality to this track, particularly in its relaxed stride, and Lawson’s sympathetic vocal. You can hear a bit of UFO in this song and, vocally, even a bit of Uriah Heep’s melodic strengths seep through in the harmonies, bridge and chorus.

Pulera’s drums open the next track, “Can You Feel It?”, before Crucianelli and Gajan join him with a brief quasi-call and response section. This is a full on rock and roll revival meeting, but despite addressing God, it isn’t about finding salvation in the hereafter. Instead, it’s a plea. It’s about waking up to your potential for the first time, perhaps decades later than you might have otherwise liked, and praying for more time. The vocal is pure rock and roll testimony overflowing with brimstone and blues. The final song on Character Is Power, “In the End”, finds Electric Revolution ending on a more reflective note. The musical mood is reminiscent of the earlier song “Forgiveness”, but “In the End” takes a slightly different lyrical slant on similar themes and brings the album full circle.cip

This is a sincere, brave, and ultimately fun rock album from a group of experienced hands long past the point of trying to put lipstick on a pig. No one can call any of the ten tracks filler and Electric Revolution presents a handful of musical voices with total confidence in their ability to pull it off. No gimmicks, just heart, soul, and energy to burn. Send us more bands like Electric Revolution to clear away the bullshit.

Electric Revolution Homepage
Electric Revolution on Facebook

The band:
Dave Lawson – lead vocals
Joe “Josey Wails” Gajan – guitars
Steve Crucianelli – bass, harmonica, vocals
Billie Pulera – drums, vocals

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