|Nashville-based alt/heavy rock duo Flarelight consists of the current percussionist for Queen + Adam Lambert, Tyler Warren and Eventide endorsed guitarist, Rachel Brandsness. The two are getting ready to release their second album, The Light We Make (out November 11). Brandsness has played with numerous groups, providing the opportunity to open for bands such as Evanescence, Neon Trees and Halestorm, while Warren has been busy touring the world and playing to sold out arenas, even recently performing at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee at Buckingham Palace.
The music of Flarelight’s new album The Light We Make is, plainly, a sonic meteorite. As it plummets through the thick atmosphere of music history, stripping away layers of stylistic artifice, it streamlines itself as it prepares for impact. With an ingrained appreciation of the greats and an even greater ear for technological innovation, Flarelight’s new album shows the band in top form, combining effortless melody with the hard rock edge of their forebears.
These songs embrace modern production techniques and the gauziness of current indie pop mainstays like CHVRCHES and Phantogram while leaving plenty of room for MC5 guitars to slice through the mix. To hear them tell it, their lifetimes of experience allows them to seamlessly “thread melody into hard rock.” Easily one of the band’s most discerning traits is that nearly the entire project is an “in-house” affair, a pure distillation of the band’s style, ethos, and prowess. Not only did the bands two leads self-produce and engineer the entire album, but Tyler Warren himself also mastered and mixed it (not to mention Rachel Brandsness’s beautiful cover art). What you get from all of this is an artistic outlier, a vision encapsulated and preserved from start to finish, and best of all, one that has no shortage of killer jams.
Cleverly letting each song speak for itself, the band marches through a variety of genres (e.g. synth-rock, hard rock and shoegaze, just to name a few) but are held together through Brandsness and Warren’s virtuosic riffs and fiery back-and-forth vocals. Leading off with single “Make Me Sick,” the album recalls the more driving and melodic Queens of the Stone Age cuts, like if Josh Homme worshiped Robert Smith instead of Iggy Pop. The vital drums and pronounced riffs rebel against the melody, creating a tension that finally finds release in the sweltering chorus as Warren intones “You are the drug that makes me sick!”
But hard-edged songs like “Make Me Sick” only serve as the tip of the iceberg of what this band is capable of. Ripping guitars serve elsewhere to punctuate brooding synth-rock on “The Wolf,” and even morph into earth-shaking shoegaze on album highlights “Your Love is a Phantom” and “Little Black Dress,” which serves up a sticky wordless chorus.
Elsewhere, Flarelight’s deep cuts serve to display their range as songwriters and musicians. “One More Night” presupposes the musical bombast of late-era Baroness with the spinning melodic crescendos of Florence + the Machine. “Entranced” similarly marries dream pop washes of guitars with earnest rock balladry, creating one of the album’s many showstopping moments.
The two bandmates originally linked together when Tyler recorded and produced Rachel’s solo record. However, it wasn’t until years later that Tyler began considering his own solo project, choosing instead to form Flarelight with Rachel after initially hitting it off. Their debut, 2019’s Glimmer, showed what the two were initially capable of, but really serves to draw back the curtain on each’s talents, unfurling rhapsodic melodies and shattered guitar lines.