Lane Change may not be newcomers, having previously released a debut album but latest release, Rise, is a brilliant introduction to the band and what they’re all about.
Self-described as rock and soul, it’s certainly a fitting label, most notable in the vocals of Myles Vann and Lizzie Shafer (also doubling up on bass). Pulling on influences from the late 60s/early 70s, they’ve not so much used them to create their own sound but instead, they actually sound like they’re from that era.
With a sound such as theirs, it’s only fitting Lane Change pay tribute to their inspirations in the form of “Club 27”, honouring the four members; those who died already being trailblazers in their field and raised to iconic status in death. It’s a thrilling and bombastic track featuring an excellent bluesy riff from Jake Galambos, evoking the feel and sound of 70s hard rock alongside the almost gospel-like backing vocals and percussion, something which is revisited in the opening moments of “Flood Water”.
Closing track “We Won’t Back Down” is bass-heavy, providing a groovy and funky sound. As you can guess from the title, it’s about rising to the challenges presented to us. With the twin vocals of Shafer and Vann, harmonising, it may not be the longest song but it’s easily the strongest of a good bunch.
Meanwhile, opener “The Rich Gets Richer” is a blue-collar anthem with lyrics taking on a Springsteen quality, albeit on a grittier and funkier backdrop. It’s also where drummer Cameron Holladay shines brightest, putting in a powerful and varied performance behind his kit, almost as if he’s providing the chanting and marching pace of a protest against such injustices.
Rise is an enjoyable listen and I’m eager to hear more from Lane Change. It exciting to hear a band use their influences to produce something which could been blasting on radios in the mid-70s. It’s a great, fresh take, tapping into soulful sounds and massive choruses, rather than adopt a tried (and at this point, overused) formula.