The eleven songs on the self-titled first release from The Flashpot Moments are throwbacks. They are swaggering, fist-pumping throwbacks, but throwbacks nonetheless. Tim Cawley, creative mastermind behind the project, clearly wants to invoke powerhouse hard rock guitar heroics and big vocals with these songs and the collection succeeds wildly in this area. He’s secured the services of a veritable all-star team of production staff and backing musicians who’ve worked with some of the music world’s biggest acts to help bring this debut out and their contributions are undoubtedly key to the final result. Cawley is a talented musician, without question, but he’s proven with this release that he’s a songwriter of considerable imagination and consistency. He has a target audience in mind for this album, but the songs on The Flashpot Moments are tailored in such a way they might find appeal with virtually anyone who likes guitar-driven music.
It gets off to a memorable start with “Places Unknown”. This is an impressive track and, largely, seems to be a love letter to the transformative effects of great rock music with some slightly humorous lines dropped in for good measure. Some might turn their noses up to music that wants to involve the crowd and have a good time, but Cawley’s songwriting unapologetically mines that vein to excellent effect. The melodic and vocal strengths of The Flashpot Moments are rarely illustrated better than they are on the song “On Some Awful Night”. Cawley’s a master of using the genre’s tropes in ways that stick with you, both lyrically and musically, and his songwriting definitely connects with universal experiences, but the vocals on this song really make the most of its melody and it helps make it one of the album’s better tracks. “The Learning Curve” is a full on hard rock guitar romp and the fast pace has a tremendous amount of strength without ever losing some swing. The bash and thud school of hard rock doesn’t interest Tim Cawley much, thankfully, and that fact means even the most predictable songs on The Flashpot Moments are redeemed by his penchant for riffs and rhythms that groove as they move.
Taken with the preceding track, the next song “Hands Up!” constitutes the final blow of an impressive one-two punch. There’s a lot of wit and intelligent evident in the songwriting, but this has even more guitar amperage and hard rock velocity than “The Learning Curve”. Cawley sounds vocally at home with this style, however, and never disappoints. “Strories We’ve Told” opens with some big, jagged guitar flourishes before it settles into a more muted pose for its introduction. Big vocals are the order of the day too for this song, but the vocal melody is very good and draws you in. The steady mid tempo pacing of the song, as well, gives it unique power. It’s a great set up for the sprawling finale, “The Last Stand”. This feels and sounds like a much more personal tune than Cawley has offered up thus far, but it never risks self-indulgence despite running over seven minutes in length. The Flashpot Moments offers a fully immersive musical experience for listeners and never fails to entertain.
by Lydia Hillenburg