If you’re into Deep Purple, read on. The Begowatts are a four-piece rock outfit that have recently released Photoelectric, an album that will please fans of classic rock. This band from Madison, WI are gaining momentum and playing lots of shows, let’s check this album out.
The opener, “In the Nighttime,” immediately sets the tone. It kicks off the album with a fuzzy, overdriven guitar riff followed by a solid, rock n’ roll rhythm section supporting the song while giving space for frontman David French to sing and growl his way through the track. The audio production on this record is already indicative of a professional’s work, sounding balanced, clear, and punchy. Their second song, “Rock Lust,” starts with a great, blues-based guitar solo, leading to a verse that showcases the great interplay between guitarists, David and Ben Tofflemire. One arpeggiates the chords while the other palm-mutes the respective power chord, creating a wide sonic spectrum and keeping the music lively. The choruses bring forth backup vocals, adding width to the musical hook. Another guitar solo, courtesy of David, showcases his song writing ability by performing a lyrical solo that tells a story within the song.
“Clinically Cool” sees the addition of a uni-vibe-type effect gracing the electric guitar tone, conjuring images of Jimi Hendrix, who was known to use this type of effect. It’s a laid-back track that picks up in intensity for the choruses, which helps to make it dynamic and entertaining. “Lawmaker” reminds me a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd, with its feel-good vibes and open chords. The next track, “Dangerous,” didn’t do much for me. In my opinion, it sounded a lot like one of the previous ones and lacked the distinction to make it memorable. “Hard Times” reminds me a lot of an ACDC track, with its post-chorus breakdowns letting the guitar riff take over while the band punches in on the count of four. It’s a hard-hitting tune that I’m sure makes the perfect soundtrack for drinks at the bar.
“Eyes of a Woman” brought me back to the sounds of Buckcherry, thanks to its mix of energetic rock and radio-friendly formula. Those looking to punch the air and rock out for two minutes should listen to “Rock The Bugs Out.” It’s a track that leans towards punk’s aptitude to deliver a quick dose of exuberance. It also showcases drummer Arthur Eigenbrot’s singing talents as he takes the lead and theatrically dishes out a ton of vigour and rock n’ roll spirit. “No Man Above” sees the band lay back a little as they play a slower rock groove. Unfortunately, I had trouble understanding the vocals at times on this track. Some words come through loud and clear; others sound buried. I think putting the vocals through a second compressor running at three to six decibels of gain reduction would have done the trick at fixing this problem. The song ends with a speedup and a guitar solo that I would love to see live someday. “Daydreamer” is another radio-friendly track that reminds me of Thin Lizzy. Worth noting is David’s passionate singing, belting out high notes like his life depended on it. Photoelectric ends with “… Still Dreaming,” the slowest song on the album. It’s an appropriate farewell from the band, culminating with an intense guitar solo halfway through.
The Begowatts know how to write a great blues-rock song. They’re talented musicians that know how to put on a show (check them out on their Youtube channel). The single caveat I see with this band is that their music doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Yes, I know. Everything’s already been done; everything’s already been heard. I just wish these guys would stray a little farther from the blues-rock sound we’ve heard since the sixties. Having said that, this band rocks out and has surely lit up quite a few rooms with their energetic, rock n’ roll grooves.
Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Danielle Kenedy