With artwork straight out of 1975 and a typography that would make Bob Seger or ZZ Top proud, the self-titled debut from Toronto's Flash Lightnin' means rock 'n' roll business before you even press play.
When it does hit the speakers, what you get is a love letter to all your favourite blues rock records: tight riffs, hard drums and throat-tearing vocals, all in ample supply. The three-piece---Darren Glover on guitar and vocals, Darcy Yates on bass and Rich Knox on drums--- makes no bones about its shameless affection for the genre.
"Our whole idea for the band came from our love of rock music," says Glover. "We wanted to make a band where it wasn't about ego, but a celebration of the music, not being 'too cool for school' or part of a scene or anything like that."
And yet, Flash Lightnin's proficiency at whiskey-stained hard rock has earned it some very cool friends. Jimmy Shaw, of Metric and Broken Social Scene, was a fan since close to the beginning, producing its debut album at his studio. And several of the album's songs were co-written with Ron Sexsmith, another good friend.
"In some ways, it was really a collaborative album, one that we wanted to make with friends. We kind of brought everybody in," says Glover.
The band hits the Maritimes for the first time this week as part of a nine-date eastern Canada co-headlining tour with The Novaks, stopping at The Seahorse Tavern Saturday night, December 11. Glover says he's eager to play cities he's never been to before, but also excited about his touring partners, who he likens to another 1970s rock staple.
"It's kind of like seeing us as a young ZZ Top, and them as a young Tom Petty," he laughs. "They're so good. Even if I wasn't in one of the bands, I'd totally be going to this show."
Though it first made its mark with a Wednesday-night residency at Toronto's Dakota Tavern, Flash Lightnin' is no stranger to the road, having toured with the likes of Priestess, Sebastien Grainger and Eagles of Death Metal. In fact, the latter's Dave Catching invited the band to record its next record in February at his Rancho de la Luno studio in Joshua Tree, California. To help pay for travel and studio time, Flash Lightnin' raised over $5,000 in pledges from fans using Kickstarter, offering rewards for various donation levels including t-shirts, autographed albums and glow- in-the-dark posters.
"It's really cool to get our fans involved earlier in the process," says Glover. "It helps make it their record even before it's made."