Typical eh? You wait years for a 70s, Led Zep influenced rock band and two come along at once. Well there are distinct similarities between Graveyard and Witchcraft, perhaps slight ones exaggerated by the similar accents off the vocalists, but Graveyard are kind of like distant twitchy cousins to the effortless smooth lines of Witchcraft. This is a good thing by the way. Their last album, Hisingen Blues, was a hugely evocative slice of unselfconscious seventies styled blues rock with great song-writing abilities on show and I’m glad to say Lights Out is both more of the same with dollop off progression and variation on top.
They open with an air raid siren, jangly guitars and those distinctive vocals will still remind me of a young lower register, huskier Robert Plant in their phrasing. ‘An Industry Of Murder’ it is called and it’s short, jagged and heavy, memorable and passionate. This then slides into the quiet, flowing regret of ‘Slow Motion’ which is Graveyard at their finest. It moves, undulates and rises like a tide. They know how to build these songs so damned well; the perfect push forward of melody by the gradually increased volume and intensity which makes this so much more than a sometimes ballad. ‘Seven Seven’ is in contrast an up tempo rocker that bounces and rubs blues grit into the tune where lesser bands would lose it under Teflon coating. ‘The Suits, The Law and the Uniform’ is a great bit of politically tinged anger, kind of a blind side punch as it started of wailing about pyramids and then just drops into the bluesy punch of the lyrics.
The thing this time around for me is that there is, like the best of the seventies influenced bands, a modern edge to all this, a relevance if you like either in the lyrics or the crispness inv the sound. This isn’t hewn from great Sabbath riffs, more carved intricately and with a deft hand from blues guitar lines and a bass sound that is just as up front as the guitars. Keyboards are well integrated too, part of the melody rather than swamping everything or as a shorthand to atmosphere. They never outstay their welcome either; most of the nine songs here are around the four minute mark. Some even drop below three. This isn’t short change, this is judgement and they are right on the money with it.
Occasionally a song like ‘Goliath’ doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot for me, but even in those moments the song is still good and the closing guitar break is superb. I also guess that the up tempo, down tempo sequence can be a little predictable but the songs make up for that.
A little less dark than Hisingen Blues, a touch more concise; a superbly listenable, very enjoyable album on the whole. Masterful in more than the odd place. One to fall back into and breathe with it.