White Lighter cover art

White Lighter   Northern Records     www.NorthernRecords.com

White Lighter is the new project featuring Steven Dail (Project 86, Neon Horse) and Mark Salomon (Neon Horse, Stavesacre) as well as Trey Many (Starflyer 59, Velour100), Andy Prickett (Prayer Chain, OneRepublic), and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59, Neon Horse). Now, if you’ve heard any of these bands, you are likely already sold on this album. And rightfully so because, the fact is, it’s as good as you hope it will be.

White Lighter basically picks up where Neon Horse left off. It has the same sort of foggy production and seventies basement vibe that, especially the first, Neon Horse album had. White Lighter goes a step further though, incorporating a more ethereal, semi-Stoner Rock vibe to it all, something that only appeared in flashes during the Neon Horse years. Salomon continues to use the lower register he has over his last couple of projects and it completes the sound perfectly.

The band set a more mysterious/introspective stage right away with “Swan,” a Bowie-esque grower that doesn’t strike you on first take but evolves over repeated listens. “Son of Dawn” takes it in exactly the opposite direction with a more upbeat and anthemic sound that is probably the album’s most obvious connection to Neon Horse. Together they result in a fantastic opening that indicates that fans of either end of the band member’s wide spectrum of offerings will enjoy something here.

Once the stage is set the album journeys through hills and valleys in a very Stoner Rock way culminating with the heady “Omens.” It spirals darkly through a haze of guitar riffs and Black Sabbath-inspired bass with Salomon’s voice cutting through the smoke long enough to deliver a thought-provoking look on life and where God is or is not in it all. “Breath Cancer” is the other peak on White Lighter’s debut in my opinion. Salomon kind of whines his way through a murky, but catchy, riff that culminates in a chorus that makes you feel like you are being chastised by an angry whino. I love it!

Overall, I wasn’t sure that this album could live up to the expectations I had for it and it far exceeded them in almost every way. Fans of any of the members previous bands later works will fall in love with this immediately. If you have never any of their previous bands, the I suggest starting here and then digging into the Neon Horse albums. The only thing that could make this more enjoyable would be for it to have been called Neon Horse III.

Reviewed by Mark Fisher


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