UK darkly rockers DARK STARES have crafted a sound that has been favourably compared to the desert soundscapes of Queens Of The Stoneage, the anthems of Muse, and the indie rock and roll of Arctic Monkeys. The band’s stunning new album, The Lightning Echo, is out on 31st May. The guys kindly gave us this exclusive track by track breakdown:
“You Know Me
Kicking off with a solitary tribal guitar riff that transforms into a classic sleazy rock & roll number with some casual lyrical arrogance and indifference, “She’s my baby on the road to nowhere”. A typically understated desert-vibe solo begins and a final jaunty drop where the distorted bass is amped up ensues – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfUKj3xWp84 .
An aggressive underpinning drum beat drives on one of our most ‘out there’ lyrical tracks but with some darker narrative undertones throughout. An Eastern guitar solo is stylistic nod, while the overlapping contrasting vocals add another dimension.
Spell You’ve Cast
This track keeps up the grungy but indie hard-rock pressure, with an ethereal vibe and somewhat hypnotic motion. The relentless lulling drive always felt tribal when played live, while the lyrics speak of “blood in our veins” and other rallying themes.
This was often one of our favourite live tracks to play due to the complete change of drum pattern mid-way through the song to propel it into a climactic new section with a wailing solo. The verses are kind of grungy and angst-laden and the chorus takes you somewhere else with pushing and pulling lyrics.
“Ride through the lightning echo” is an early lyric in the song that we felt attached to and discovered as the right ‘moment’ to reference the album title. The guitars are choppy and stabbing to build up pressure for the chorus releases, with some strange and wistful lyrics of longing throughout – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCBZgv4Libo .
‘The Shadows’ provides the first sense of ‘relief’, with a creeping jaunting vibe that intends to persuade the listener to creep further into a more intricate area of the album. There’s a Latin lyric in there with a reference from a certain old childhood film, and the wise credo “We only get one life, so slick back your hair”.
‘Today’ reveals a few moments of sweetness and light, as it cycles through variously uplifting melodic verses and bridges, use of falsetto vocals and melancholy lyrics with a rather kind guitar solo, and a lyrical nod to the next track with the concept of being “Wide awake”.
Lyrically inspired by an actual nightmare (“I’m wide awake to the shape”) of trying to bury some hideous crime, being “just a faceless man with nothing left to loan” in that blurry indistinct realm of a dream. The bass line is wandering and chimes nicely with soaring organs and choir-like backing vocals and subtle whispering.
In My Pocket
This song welcomes you to the beginning of the end, kicking off again with real attitude and a sense of epic purpose. The lyrics drift between boastful and threatening while the lead guitar competes for the centre-stage and rhythm section pushes throughout.
Built lyrically and in mood from a fever dream; losing sight of the path continuously as you’re left stranded in the fog. Lyrics like “I heard it whispering my name” are ambiguously unsettling against the more joyous and constant guitar riffs and eccentrically indie guitar solo.
Dead and Gone
A drifting anthem with punchy verses, layered with soft harmonies to invite in the chorus riffs and catastrophic lyrical content. This has one of our favourite epic solo lead guitar lines that cuts through mid-way and returns for the outro. There are a few choice personal lyrics for us, like “Like a game just start again no one liked you anyway”.
Returning to our natural, driving-sound; one final adrenaline-fuelled rock cruiser, ‘Rebel Angel’ nods back to ‘You Know Me’ with the lyrics “She’s my baby, born to make a scene” and fades out forever into the abyss after the final lyrical declaration “but I feel what I feel” with brooding and playful lead guitar lines.”