Burning Love - Songs for Burning Lovers (Cover Artwork)

Burning Love

Songs for Burning Lovers (2010)


Upon playing a song for a friend off of Burning Love's first full-length, Songs for Burning Lovers, he exclaimed, "Sometimes you don't have to invent a new sound to be badass. Rock and roll is just gonna be rock and roll," and I couldn't agree more. Formed in 2007 as a side project featuring members from Toronto, Ontario, Canada's Our Father and Cursed vocalist Chris Colohan, the quintet has released 12 tracks of blistering, hook-laden, riff-heavy rock and roll that wears its Black Flag, Poison Idea, and Turbonegro influences proudly on its gritty, whiskey-soaked, leather jacket sleeve without being trite or playing up some retro-gimmick schtick.

"Destroyer of Worlds (Oppenheimer Blues)" kicks things off abruptly as caustic vocals recount the dropping of the atomic bomb and the eventual realization of the magnitude of what that meant to Robert Oppenheimer, the man known as the "father of the atom bomb." "What thou hath wrought with these two hands, the great undoing of every man / The toil of 14 billion years snuffed out in a flash / ...He drops his eyes and leans in tight / with words to echo all your nights / At the first flash of the blinding lights, he says: 'We're all sons of bitches now.'"

The album continues on in similar fashion with raging, punchy, low-end guitar groove occasionally punctuated by sharp staccato notes, crashing cymbals and a driving rhythm section, bolstered by Colohan's throaty bark. Both "Gain" and "Miserable Sound" thrash with unrelenting ferocity until eclipsed by dual guitar work that demands that the listener try not to bob their head along. The latter sees Colohan shout "Down. I get down / I get down with the miserable sound / Soul. I got a soul (but I wouldn't want you to know)" before launching into a white-hot blaze of a solo to round out the song.

In "Alien vs. Creditor", Colohan's voice reaches a level of melody (with the slightest hint of soulful croon) in the sing-along chorus not heard in any of his previous work. "Money Shots" and "The Needle" include guitar and vocal hooks that would make Josh Homme jealous that he didn't write them first.

As with previous bands like Cursed, Colohan's writing remain a big part of the appeal in addition to the music. Subject matter is both engaging and introspective and avoids dipping into tired themes. In addition, subtle references and blatant nods to classic rock icons and clichés are scattered throughout (right down to the band's own name) proving that these guys are having fun, too.

In a scene saturated with sterile radio/arena muzak, soulless tech-mosh metal, mid-paced Midwest PBR party anthems, and droning down-tuned dirge, it's refreshing when a no-bullshit album with an actual edge and insight to boot like this surfaces. Call it punk'n'roll, call it Lemmy's soundtrack to speeding down an open highway on a motorcycle. To me, music this abrasive yet boisterous and tuneful can only be described as good old rock and roll.