Light­ning Kid

Classic Rock - - Albums - nick hasted

Gritty, pretty East Coast soul‑rock.

The sa­cred and the rock­ing seem to al­ter­nate in the hearts of New Jersey friends Jonah Tolchin and Kevin Clif­ford, whose de­but to­gether mixes Bi­b­li­cal im­agery with soul­ful grace and elec­tric guitar raunch.

‘I don’t know how it feels to be pushed back on my heels by a man with a gun,’ Tolchin sings on

Bless Your Chil­dren, a heart­felt, thought­ful prayer in the face of atroc­i­ties and in­jus­tice. Bea­tles-eque key­boards pre­cede a guitar and fe­male co-singer wail­ing on this ex­em­plary slice of neo-soul-rock.

The ti­tle track starts as crunch­ing Stones truck-stop blues, and ends with the band ham­mer­ing Ham­mond and cym­bals, ram­pag­ing and re­s­plen­dent. Open Your Heart matches an ex­ul­tant, dirty squall of guitar with Tolchin’s pretty, gospel-soul plead­ing. The in­stru­men­ta­tion and at­ti­tude up­date the brief in­ter­change­abil­ity of rock, soul, funk and jazz as the 1960s be­came the 1970s, be­fore fu­sion be­came a dirty word.

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