Album Review of
Torch Light

Written by Robert Silverstein
August 18, 2021 - 6:03pm EDT
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Hot on the heels of their two most recent, critically-acclaimed releases, including the 2020 release of Voodoo Treatment as well as an EP from late 2020 / early 2021 entitled A Date With Destiny, Chicago’s most prolific instrumental surf-rock band The Breakers return in style during the Summer of 2021 with Torch Light. The 18-track Torch Light clearly demonstrates just how and why Breakers guitarist Jim Abrahams has evolved into one of the most prolific guitar instrumentalists and composers of the early 2020’s surf-rock scene. Calling Jim Abrahams a creative surf-rock guitarist would be an understatement as just about every genre of the modern-day guitar instrumental sound is explored to the max on Torch Light .

As on their earlier releases, Torch Light  features the expert Breakers rhythm section of Marc Lockett (drums, percussion) and Jayson Slater (bass). Fans of the other Breakers albums will note Mark Lockett’s attention to playing percussion as well as his top-notch drum fills on tracks such as “The Other Side Of The Clock”. On top of highlighting the core Breakers band, Torch Light  also features guest spots from other fine musicians including Bruno Kriese (bass on “Escalator For Two”), Dan Klapman (sax), Gary Kretchmer (trumpet) and Jeff Bond (guitar), with the icing on the cake being contributions from Breakers producer Craig Williams (production, guitar).

With its inescapable surf-flavored melody, “A Trip Through Life” opens Torch Light with its most memorable guitar vision. Soon enough, track 2, “Ocean Of Fire” lives up to its title and kicks up quite a whirlwind. The title track, “Torch Light ​” features Jim’s impressive pizzicato guitar picking and power chords with a ‘strum and twang’ effect, while a powerful Breakers cover of the Gordon Lightfoot mid 1970’s folk music classic, “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” is an unexpected delight with its pulsating guitar twist take on one of Lightfoot’s most fabled folk melodies. With a haunting synth meets theremin flair, “Orphans Of The Storm” takes the modern day instrumental guitar genre to unexpected heights, while “Never To Be Found” has a brief but mercurial melody that almost borders on Steve Howe / Yes inspired prog guitar meets 1950s soundtrack sounds, only better. In true Breakers style, the band closes out Torch Light with a blast of an instro rocker called "Egyptian Surf", which is actually a remake of the "Arabian Song" (a/k/a "The Streets Of Cairo”) which, depending on the Wikipedia entry you rely on, was said to be composed in the mid 1800's or even as early as 1719!

Among the other favorable sonic side effects of Torch Light  is that the album clearly demonstrates just how tight the Breakers have become, with a special mention regarding Marc Lockett with his powerful drum sound that really drives the Breakers sound over the sonic wall. In fact, all of the melodies and arrangements as well as the emotional force on Torch Light are enhanced and improved  by the contributions of Marc Lockett and Jayson Slater. In Jim Abrahams own words, “Marc and I live pretty close, so we are always talking about our music multiple times for the week, while Jason always changes some things around as well and adds his own flavor.” Suffice to say, supercharged with 18 hard-hitting cuts, Torch Light  is certain to be regarded as one of the best guitar-centric surf-rock albums of 2021.