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Ear to the Ground: Electric Citizen’s “Light Years Beyond”

The retro-rock newcomers boast a bewitching frontwoman, galloping adventure-rock rhythms, and a guitarist with a degree in obscure ’70s metal.

Fans of proto metal know all too well how the realm is largely male dominated. But Laura Dolan’s hypnotic voice provides respite as frontwoman for Cincinnati’s Electric Citizen. Her witchy timbre is at times mysteriously androgynous and eerily sexy. Another refreshing aspect of this band’s brand of freak-flag-flying anthems resonates in their pace. Rather than trudge along at the lumbering cadence of so many other likeminded longhairs, Electric Citizen favors the galloping, adventure-rock rhythms found on early Judas Priest records.

“Light Years Beyond” is a great introduction to their sonic sorcery. It introduces the band’s debut album, Sateen,with the tempo of charging warhorses trained for jousting. Even the fidelity here sounds painstakingly mixed to include the hiss of that magical time in the late ’70s and early ’80s when every rocker’s hair was feathered to resemble the wings of a mythological griffin.

Although guitarist Ross Dolan probably doesn’t groom his hair back with one of those really big plastic combs, his sinister leads play with period-correct aplomb. His overlapped lines tangle together chaotically and straighten back out just like classic heavy metal solos of yore. He’s probably one of those guys who’s not afraid of wearing a faded Manilla Road t-shirt to meet his girlfriend’s mom.