For their second record on punk rock powerhouse Sailor's Grave, Boston's Burning Streets don't stray terribly far from where they left off on Is It In Black and White, but throw in just enough curveballs to keep â??em guessing on the follow-up.
The confusion begins immediately, with vocalist Drew Juliano embracing a half-falsetto croon that stands in stark contrast to the grittier Boston street punk style introduced on Burning Streets' debut. Vocally, there are inflections of emotional punk reminiscent more of a slightly less melodramatic Day at the Fair than Dropkick Murphys or Darkbuster. The production by Marc Cannatta (ex-Far From Finished) is also noticeably richer, with layers of instrumentation including melodic guitar leads, all kinds of acoustic and overdubbed tones, and what sounds a lot like a Moog amidst swirling crescendos that brush with being histrionic but never breach overkill.
Sit Still also seems like a slightly more mainstream-oriented effort, if only for the big-time hooks and some mellow tempos among the more orchestrated arrangements. "Disappointed" packs a heavy narrative punch, while the mid-tempo "The Safety" draws in some of the album's best moments lyrically: "Life's about how many moments we turn into something worth fighting for / Take it as it comes, if it comes it goes." "Simplicity" has the appeal of modern rock radio and enough twists and turns to get lost, while "Full-Time Gamblers" is without a doubt the most fun track of the album.
The only song that doesn't quite reach the quality of the rest is "Let Me Go," a dirty punk 'n' roll number that wants to strut with the AC/DC crowd but doesn't get there. But it's a relatively minor qualm, on an otherwise exceptional album.
Don't let the title and cover art fool you, this album is reckless and restless and should help push Burning Streets further along towards the recognition they deserve. For honest, anthemic punk rock following in the footsteps of some of Boston's finest, Burning Streets are forging ahead with Sit Still.