The self-titled recording debut for The Flashpot Moments represents a chance for singer/songwriter and drummer Tim Cawley to promote his musical talents in a much more complete way on a bigger stage than ever before. The “band” for the album’s eleven songs isn’t a cohesive unit in the typical meaning of the word as Cawley enlists a small army of players culled from some of the world’s highest profile marquee acts to help shape and realize his artistic vision. The songwriting mold Cawley pursues is quite clear – he favors loud, brash arena or stadium rawk, one hundred proof, no chaser. It’s the anthemic variety he favors most with the big choruses, booming guitars, and charismatic vocals. The songs on the self-titled first album check all of those boxes. The long gestation period for this album doesn’t result in a collection of overwrought and belabored tunes with the life squeezed from them. Instead, it sounds like this period gave Cawley and his production collaborators the needed space to hone the songs and collection as a whole to a fine, glistening edge.
“Places Unknown” opens the album with a preening, fists in the air attitude with some flashes of humor thrown in for good measure. The patient, even orchestrated, build of the song never sounds inert or predictable, but it makes great sense and the song’s turns all come at the right points. There’s some great tempo shifts thrown in for good measure and the melodic sweep of the chorus works quite well. The light touch of keyboards thrown into the mix on “Strangers Dance” expands its melodic potential and the chorus takes off with the same effortless lift listeners encounter on the opener. Cawley’s vocals get some support from backing vocals, as they did on the first song, but he’s an exceptionally strong singer for this material. There’s some great bite on the guitars powering “On Some Awful Night” and it continues during the verses. The effect of the chorus on this song is satisfying, but a little more diffuse than the album’s first two songs. There’s some great lead guitar fills popping up throughout this track as well.
There’s some nicely arranged harmony vocals opening “’Splode (The Party Prelude)” before it settles into a spartan, strutting first verse. The music explodes for its first big chorus soon thereafter, but continues alternating between loud and muted passages throughout the song’s duration. It’s clear what Cawley’s aiming for here and it isn’t difficult to imagine how much more memorable this admittedly fine track would be with a slightly more lively tempo. “The Learning Curve” opens with a massive guitar rave-up before launching into an uptempo workout with sharply observed and well-phrased lyrics. Cawley’s singing here is some of his absolute best on the album. “Hands Up!” is another massive guitar tune with a whiplash tight riff powering its verses. The song slows a little for its chorus, but it’s a brief respite for the swaggering main riff returns to pummel listeners a little more. The song’s bridge is particularly effective here too. The final cut on this album is “The Last Stand”. This is easily the longest song on The Flashpot Moments, but well worth every second and it never feels like Cawley is unduly stretching for some heavy handed final curtain. This is an impressive, well-rounded release that will check off every box for guitar rock lovers.
9 out of 10 stars