This is music that reeks of the epic...

This is music that reeks of the epic, created by musicians whose foremost and unabashed desire is to fill stadia.

To this end, Red Light Company excel in delivering bona-fide gargantuan choruses, the quintet blasting through with stabs of guitar, shivering keys and drums that echo like a tremor in the Grand Canyon. Bold and dynamic, the opening ‘Words Of Spectacular’ and ‘Arts & Crafts’ are particularly vulgar displays of power.

The devil, however, is in the detail, as disconcerting twists in lyric draw us ever closer to ‘Fine Fascination’’s knotted heart. The abundant soaring melodies enable us to see more clearly the landscape that these narratives journey across, with black oases dotted here and there. Everywhere there are cobwebbed secrets, dark corners and unexpected turns of the screw.

Take ‘Scheme Eugene’, one minute adrift amidst inconsequential lyrical jetsam – like the name checking of Broken Social Scene – it soon pitches us into altogether murkier waters. Addiction and prostitution, age-old bedfellows, are brought together as Richard Frennaux’s jagged vocal creates a sense of lacerating hysteria. Tied to widescreen melodies, the lyrical emotion is ever amplified. Such is the case with the histrionic ‘New Jersey Television’, a song that brazenly courts the word ‘anthemic’.

There are, however, occasional missteps. ‘First We Land’ is a song that meanders aimlessly, its plodding rhythms lacking the pile-driver oomph that fires much of the rest of the album. ‘Meccano’ meanwhile is a call and response effort that is all too simplistic, its appeal quickly worn out. However, a final, glorious stand comes courtesy of ‘The Alamo’ as RLC come on like a street fighting, down and dirty Muse. Frennaux conjures images of “dark stars” and “blazing suns”, pleading as his once bright love is snuffed out. It’s nigh on apocalyptic, the four horsemen – guitar, voice, drums, keys – converging winningly as it clatters to a satisfying close.

To some, RLC’s flagrant flaunting of ambition can seem distasteful and, one thing’s for certain, if you’ve your crosshairs trained on arenas then you’d better have the ammunition to back up the big time posturing. At times here they fall short – slingshot aimed at the moon short – but often their aim rings true. And on these occasions they are devastating.

Words: Francis Jones


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