Laura Cox, Burning Bright, album review, Rock and Blues Muse

By Mike O’Cull

French rock guitarist/vocalist Laura Cox and her incredible band has a new album called Burning Bright that will make you believe in the power of music again. Released November 8th, 2019 on the Verychords imprint, Burning Bright puts Cox at the leading edge of the New Classic Rock movement that’s been gaining momentum in the past few years. She is an absolutely first-class player and singer but what makes her great is that she nails the zeitgeist of the original blues-based rock days. Many folks can imitate it but Cox is cut from the same rough, rebellious cloth as her inspirations. She has that intangible power that can’t be taught and it’s evident in everything she does.

Laura Cox first came to prominence when she started posting her guitar videos to YouTube in 2008. Her mix of modern-day fire, timeless influences, and internet savvy made her an online sensation who racked up over 60 million views and 250,000 subscribers as well as praise from the likes of Joe Bonamassa. Her covers of songs by ZZ Top, The Band, Dire Straits, and Johnny Cash fed her desire to get herself out on the road and onstage. She formed The Laura Cox Band in 2013 with guitarist Mathieu Albiac, another young player with similar tastes. The band also includes bassist Francois C. Delacoudre and drummer Antonin Guérin these days and the four musicians comprise a no-nonsense, muscled-up unit that plays guitar rock as well as any group ever has.

Burning Bright comes out like a runaway train with the explosive “Fire Fire,” a fierce rocker that explores the groove connection between Black Sabbath and ZZ Top. The verse and Cox’s vocals infuse the track with modern rock attitude, indelible hooks, and the balance needed to be relevant right now. Laura and Mathieu’s guitar tones are delectably crunchy and fit well with each other. “Bad Luck Blues” follows and rocks even harder and heavier. It builds pressure up going into the chorus in a manner that’s positively volcanic. Cox is a rock singer in the true sense of the term and proves it here, getting things done with a clean, strong tone that cuts through the mix like a lightsaber.

“Looking Upside Down” takes a turn into heartfelt Southern rock and shows Cox to be as good with the mid-tempo material as she is with the harder-hitting songs. The cut demonstrates the depth of her style and her mastery of songwriting dynamics. “Freaking Out Loud” is one of the heaviest and most satisfying songs on Burning Bright. It’s a wah-laden Hendrix/Zeppelin rock track that takes present-day liberties with those classic influences and uses them to drop the hammer as only a young band can. Cox is a fearless, aggressive guitarist and brings it all on this one. Her no-frills style boils over with pure rock ferocity and will drop you like a suckerpunch if you aren’t bolted down.

One subtle, beautiful thing about Burning Bright is it’s ten-song length. Ten songs are the optimum amount of music to put on a two-sided vinyl record and make for a perfect one-sitting listening experience. Keeping the record focused in this way reinforces the appeal of long-form releases in our single-heavy era. Burning Bright gets your attention, rocks your world, and sends you out the other side feeling like you’ve just witnessed the band play a live set. It leaves you wanting more, not waiting for it to end. Laura Cox is definitely the real thing from top to bottom and these tracks are going to spread her name far and wide. This, my friends, is how it’s done.

Listen to the Official “Burning Bright” Pre-Listening of Burning Bright
 

 

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