Most people are lucky to stay just friends with the people they hung out with in seventh grade. For Kerry Ryan and Jake Roche of the Wells-based power trio Lit on the Flash, their friendship not only goes back that long – it’s rooted in rock n’ roll. The pair, both natives of southern Maine, have been playing music together for nearly 20 years, and the way they see it, they’ve only deepened and improved their relationship.
“We keep it fresh by always pushing our own personal artistic boundaries as far as we can,” said Ryan, who with Roche played in the popular Maine band Jeremiah Freed in the late 90s and early 2000s. “The uncertainty of how things are going to sound or how a song is going to turn out is always a very exciting process. We have evolved so much stylistically over the years, but yet our overall strategy hasn’t really changed from the beginning. We’ve only grown better at reading each others musical thoughts while jamming.”
Lit on the Flash is comprised of Ryan on drums, Roche on lead guitar and vocals, and Matter Reignkin on bass, and together, the trio make a heavy duty rock explosion — all big riffs, smart songwriting and catchy vocal melodies. The band will play this Saturday at Bangor’s West Market Festival, along with Temperature of the Sun, Worried Well and Rotating Taps. Their debut album, “Revolution Time,” introduced the band to Maine audiences; their new self-titled album (pictured above), out just this week on LOTF’s Bandcamp page, follows up on the promise of their early stuff. It’s a little early 90s alt-rock – think the driving thunder of Pearl Jam, or the swirling tones and vocals of Jane’s Addiction – but with a heart and soul that’s uniquely theirs, drawing on a life spent growing up with rock n’ roll. It ranges from the acoustic-based barn burner “Bad Man” (a prime contender for a single, in this reporter’s humble opinion) to the strutting Led Zeppelin-esque stomp of “Onwards.”
“For the first time we took over control over all aspects of recording ourselves. We actually recorded the album in my house in Wells,” said Ryan. “This album rocks quite a bit harder than ‘Revolution Time’. It is full of blistering guitar, pounding drums, and thunderous bass. We consider it the band’s best material and sound so far, and we are excited that we can share it with everyone.”
The three musicians have spent a lot of time in and out of the Maine music scene – specifically Portland, a town that’s seen explosive growth in the past decade of its music, arts and food scene. Ryan believes that overall it’s nothing but positive – there’s a support system built into the music scene that’s filled with passionate fans, multiple venues and helpful artists. But as someone who’s previous band, Jeremiah Freed, went out onto the national scene and returned with a wealth of wisdom, Ryan cautions local bands to be ready to give it your all when you’re ready to tour the country or world.
“I think if artists are serious about taking things beyond Portland and Maine, the important thing to remember is that it is a big world out there, and artists need to always put out the highest quality material possible and get their music into new markets,” said Ryan. “Since Jeremiah Freed was on the scene, I’ve only seen things in the Portland music scene improve in just about every way. It’s time for Portland to show that it is indeed full of great musicians and artists with a style that can compete with any other city in the world.”
Lit on the Flash will play this Saturday at West Market Festival, and on Saturday, July 28 at the Big Easy in Portland with Mother Leopard. Their albums are available online and at Bull Moose Music.