Had Lzzy Hale been around to wield her formidable pipes a couple of decades ago, her wails might have been showcased on generously hooky tracks à la Heart and Lita Ford. Instead, her band Halestorm operates in the relative shadows of circa 2015 mainstream hard rock, which even at its catchiest is too uncool to headline Coachella or snag a 6.7 from Pitchfork. Which is a shame: Halestorm’s third album is packed with straightforward mud-in-your-eye rockers, but also throws enough stylistic curveballs to set it apart from the crowd. Take the opening track, “Scream,” where militaristic stomp and razor-wire guitars eventually give way to lush synths that sound beamed in from “Blade Runner,” or “Dear Daughter,” an ode to an unsure young woman that, thanks to its lush accoutrements, recalls Pat Benatar’s similarly uplifting “We Belong.” Hale’s commanding presence gives Halestorm a unique status in hard rock’s relentlessly male world; the band’s big-tent riffs and surprising detours have a clear appeal beyond that subgenre. (Out Tuesday)
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Maura Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.