Daylight Tonight

The Tom Collins

Terminus Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


What's that noise you make as you slam the empty glass back down on the bar after tossing down a spectacularly satisfying cold beverage? Oh yes: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

That would be the sound I made after getting a load of the huge, propulsive, grin-inducing guitar hook that opens and anchors this disc's lead-off cut, "Back Of Your Mind." Immediate reaction: "I get 11 more of these?!"

Yes indeed. The Tom Collins is an Atlanta power trio that makes a big noise, bold, angular riffs holding court over churning, heavy rhythm patterns. The group features Fran Capitanelli on guitar and pleasantly greasy lead vocals; Craig McQuiston on rumbly intense basslines; and Kyle Spence (late of J. Mascis' touring band The Fog) on thundering drum fills and occasional keyboards.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

By three or four cuts in, you can hear every major influence -- chiefly a *whole* lotta Zeppelin, but also hints of heavy classic rockers like Aerosmith, not to mention neo-classicists like Jet and singer-songwriter-rockers like Tom Petty. The main ingredient, though, is guitar and more guitar. I had to laugh when the already very Zeppelinesque "Hot And Cold" hit a mid-song breakdown where Capitanelli unleashed an a capella guitar solo that turned "Heartbeaker" inside out and upside down. You have learned well, grasshopper…

The conjoined pair "Why Don't You Leave" and "That Town You Love" (the titles are two halves of a key line that appears in both songs) may be the most brilliant creation on this entire terrific album, though. The former features Capitanelli on acoustic and vocals and no rhythm section, offering a relatively low-key break in the action until it segues suddenly into the bludgeoning opening riff of the latter. After threatening momentarily to accelerate right into "Immigrant Song" territory, "That Town You Love" then settles back into a fierce groove that never lets up. Sweet, sweet stuff.

I also dug the experimentation with tempo and slide on "Start Of The Summer," whose reeling accelerate/decelerate bridge has an almost prog feel to it. Ditto for the shifting textures and tones Capitanelli employs on the sometimes dreamy, sometimes driving "I Can't Sleep." They even throw in a bar-band-singalong electrified country-rock number ("We All Said You Would") for kicks.

Rock has been pronounced dead so many times it's become cliche to even suggest it. Dead, alive or indifferent, rock still has a place in the world; this disc is proof aplenty. Daylight Tonight is a tour de force of fiery, sweat-soaked, guitar-hero rock and roll and the most satisfying indie disc I've heard yet this year.

Rating: A

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© 2005 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Terminus Records, and is used for informational purposes only.