Construct a Venn diagram with one side representing Queen and the other side representing Shinedown. There’s not going to be an intersection worth noticing. Well, certainly not from a sound aspect. Shinedown are radio-friendly American rock and Queen are… Queen.
However, in that intersection, they share a sense of flamboyance and pomp. That’s where Beckon Lane come in with their new EP The Long Road. Inspired by the current wave of American bands like so many others, Beckon Lane bring a fresh complexity to it with harmonised backing vocals and almost progressive at times, especially during “Fair Enough” and its breakdown. Between the two songs, it’s this one where you really hear the Queen influences, evoking my memories of Queen, Queen II and Innuendo with hints of their mid-late 70s era in the introductory riff.
“Long Way Round” is markedly different but contains the same idea of making radio-friendly rock. Gritty and punchy guitars come from Lewis Philis and Samer Bata but there’s a thick dollop of melodic to punctuate the more sombre and wistful tone of the song. Philis also has a rather unique voice which, when given the backdrop of Beckon Lane’s music, only accentuates that fact all the more. Full of power and aggression with reverberation and drawn out notes; baked into the music you can hear raw, natural talent.
Drums are provided by Dan Brown and whilst not overly complex, they don’t have to be. There are some great fills and reliance on snare but thankfully not St Anger-style. It all locks in well with Andy Goulter’s evident massive bass lines to create some great grooves.
The Long Road may only have two tracks but it does what it sets out to do. Being Midlands-based, Beckon Lane have established a name for themselves in their home area and it’s the kind of sound bands up and down the country are churning out. While they may draw much of their influence from the standard modern day names, there’s a fresh twist on it and it’s this which makes them stand out from the rest of the pack.
Photo credit to Steve Fisher