Contrary to doomsayer rumor, rock music doesn’t need saving. But a wake-up call is long overdue, and this is it. Actually, not just a wake-up call, but a joyous reunion of rock with its oft-forgotten prodigal twin, the roll — with papa blues and mama soul along for the ride, too. All of which makes Pardon Me the perfect introduction to one of the most electrifying young bands in America — or at least the next best thing to experiencing Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights live. Literally.
Don’t be fooled by the good Southern manners implied by the title of Pardon Me, the major-label debut by Dallas’ Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights. The walloping roundhouse punch of Pardon Me’s lead-off title track and everything else packed into Tyler and Co.’s Texas-sized can of rock ’n’ roll whoopass. “Hey!” Tyler shouts after the opening salvo of guitars lands like a gauntlet slap across the face. “Can you hear me? Can you feel me, coming through your stereo?” Then comes the coup-de-grace, a shot of Hendrix-laced adrenaline plunged deep into the listener’s heart and soul by a diabolically persuasive Dr. Feelgood. “Maybe it’s been too long since rock ’n’ roll turned you on,” sneers Tyler, with equal measures of promise and threat. “So pardon me, just let it set you free.”