A singer-songwriter fleshes out his sound and a pop punk quartet boosts your spirits in the latest roundup of Vegas music releases:
BURNING SYMPHONY, “Delusions of Sexual Grandeur” (www.facebook.com/wyatt.mckenzie.3): Wyatt McKenzie’s voice is like a vapor trail, gradually dissipating until it evaporates into thin air at the end of each sentence.
In the past, McKenzie has favored a musical backdrop as haunting and transitory as his singing can be, preferring dusky, acoustic-based tunes that, like nocturnal creatures, only come out at night.
But with his latest project, Burning Symphony, McKenzie swaps atmosphere for dissonance.
“When you drive in my car, you look through windows exploding with light and noise,” he sings on “Annabell Lee,” and this six-song EP feels like it was meant to soundtrack said journey in similarly bright and jarring terms.
Take the tune in question, which pirouettes into a fit of skyward-bound guitar, underscored by the kind of powerhouse drumming that leads to lots of fractured drumsticks.
“Not even Jesus could save you from me,” he warns at song’s end.
McKenzie’s guitar ricochets through “Don’t Waste My Time” like a stray bullet as he sings of falling through bottomless pits of despair and digging his girl’s morning breath; “Burn For You” leaves as many bruises as those found on McKenzie’s battered heart.
But then it all ends with the rootsy, left field swing of a song whose title is unfit for print.
It’s a final, knowing wink from a dude who still favors question marks over exclamation points.
LAST CALL, “Dog Years” (facebook.com/lastcallnv): Las Vegas is America’s second sunniest city, just a tad behind Phoenix, officially, but this record seems tailored for those days when there are a few clouds in the sky, designed to chase them away.
Relentlessly upbeat both in terms of tempo and temperament, Last Call’s full-length debut is a pop punk pick-me-up, its heart pinned to its sleeve right beneath a Jawbreaker patch.
“All we’re trying to be is decent human beings,” singer Austin Jeffers explains on “Live Like Roark,” a fast and not-so-furious fusillade of positive affirmation.
Jeffers sings in ever-earnest tones, his voice straining with longing and occasionally tinged with regret, as on the bitter breakup song “Glassell St.,” but mostly, he aims to console, with “Dog Years” intended as a reassuring hand on any shoulder within reach.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.