Album Review: Lanes Laire’s Resurrection of Black

Resurrection Of Black, the debut album credited to the name of Sedona, AZ-based guitarist and composer Lanes Laire, has potential to be submitted for one of the best releases to come out in 2015. A labour of love, whose recording took several years to complete, Resurrection Of Black  (whose title can be interpreted in many different ways) is one of those rare musical efforts that manage to sound like very little else. With derivative acts a dime a dozen on the current music scene, listening to such an album can be an exhilarating experience. Although Lanes Laire’s name may be the most prominent on the cover, unlike your average ‘solo pilot’ release this is very much a collective effort, in which the input of each member of the band is recognizable, yet at the same time meshes with the others to form an organic whole.

Resurrection of BlackUnabashedly eclectic, Resurrection Of Black can be described as a ‘protest album’, and with very good reason – though only part of the songs have an unmistakable socio-political bent. However, it is first and foremost a collection of inspired, thought-provoking compositions performed by a group of amazingly talented, experienced musicians who manage to come across as an extremely tight unit rather than a combination of over-inflated egos. The name of bassist Matt Bissonette is nothing short of legendary among four-string fans, and his brother, drummer Gregg Bissonette can claim a number of prestigious affiliations. When such collective talent is gathered together, the results may often be a tad underwhelming – especially when musicians forget that they are at the service of the music, and not the other way round.

Thankfully, this is not the case with Resurrection Of Black. The impressive cohesion between all the artists involved, band members / guests, results in eight tracks that display a remarkably original approach, even when external influences can be detected. While listening to the album for the first time, the closest comparison that came into my mind was with the late ‘70s– early 1990’s Pink Floyd, who are undoubtedly one of Lanes Laire’s most noticeable sources of inspiration. In contrast with the majority of prog albums released in the past year or so, Resurrection Of Black is based on relatively short compositions, none longer than 6 and a half minutes –  and, indeed, half of the tracks are songs with a more or less ‘conventional’ verse-chorus-verse structure. The album might even be seen as a lesson on how to produce music that does not rely on 30-minute epics or convoluted concept stories in order to be progressive.

As I previously pointed out, eclecticism is the name of the game, with the hard-hitting earnestness of tracks like “The World Around Us” or “Pleasures of War,” or the gentle yet emotional content of “The Struggle Within.” The psychedelic-meets-ambient component of Laire’s creativity is here represented through “Influential Deception” and closing “Justifiable Condemnation” – where Laire’s array of traditional and electronic guitars, effectively supported by the Bissonette rhythm section weave subtly entrancing, multilayered textures.

A masterful blend of mainstream sensibilities, socially-aware lyrics, intriguing atmospheres and stunning instrumental and vocal performances, this is a unique album that is warmly recommended to progressive music fans.

Lanes Laire’s Resurrection of Black is available from Bandcamp.