LA blues rock trio Beware Of Darkness are the latest to add to the genre’s vast tapestry with their sophomore release, ‘Are You Real?’’ The question is, is it worth your time?
Swaggering out of the traps with ‘Muthafucka’, Beware of Darkness immediately establish their hazy, fuzz driven sound – you might have heard it all before, but it’s that much harder to care with a chorus this big.
For the remainder of ’Are You Real?’’s first half, the band maintain a standard of songwriting nous: first single ’Dope’’s falsetto hook is undeniable, while the album’s title track is an awesome combination of subtle atmosphere and trundling bass groove. The instrumental prowess displayed here is elevated further by the vocal performance of Kyle Nicolaides, whose charismatic presence dominates much of this record.
However, it is at the beginning of the album’s second half that the wheels threaten to fall off. ’Angel’’s mawkish lyrical content leaves a bad taste in the mouth, while ’Surrender’ and ’Hieroglyphics’ are just far too vanilla to leave any lasting impression.
In spite of this lull, ’Are You Real?’ closes on a high note with the understated lethargy of ’Delirium’, a track far more in step with the quality displayed in the album’s initial stages.
Overall, it’s difficult to ignore the enormous debt that Beware Of Darkness owe many of rock’s most revered artists on this release, with nary a minute going by without a riff or vocal cadence recalling the likes of Zeppelin, Sabbath or the White Stripes. Despite this lack of innovation, ‘Are You Real?’ does enough in terms of musical proficiency and hooks to make this a solid blues record in its own right. It may be miles away from rock music’s cutting edge, but for those who looking for a well executed throwback, you could do far worse than this.
‘Are You Real?’ by Beware Of Darkness is out released on September 16th on Bright Antenna Records.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh)