Reading up about the history behind New Jersey outfit Burned at Both Ends one would get the impression that someone up there really has it in for them! A succession of bass players, drummers and vocalists in what seems like a pretty short space of time has seen the band deal with enough difficulties for a VH1 Behind The Music Special of their own already!
Technically we’re rich in Canada was released in December 2011, so more cynical reviewers than ourselves could assume that by now there are very few of the original band members left- and they wouldn’t be far from the truth. Since their inception Burned At Both Ends have bid adieu to their original vocalist to make room for Brooke McDermott (having stepped in merely days before the studio sessions for this recording after previous vocalist departed), their original bassist, and their previous drummer. (We believe they are still looking for a drummer, so if you can smack some skins, and fancy the sights of New Jersey, get hold of them through their Facebook page!)
As a result for all the line up changes it would be harsh to review this EP it on anything bar the song writing as it seems like most aspects of the band have changed since this was made, with the exception of the vocalist.
Opening with Last Call Lost Cause, bright guitars riff along with a raw bite until McDermott comes in with some well scripted pop-punk verses about the time honoured ‘going nowhere’ relationship. At this point it is already obvious that the creative force behind the band has a convincing grasp of structure. The layering of the guitars, and the numerous breaks that continue throughout the EP mean that Burned at Both ends are more than just a superficial emo-punk-pop outfit.
As the tracks continue Blasphemy introduces occasional group shouts and chants to Brooke’s clean cut delivery that continue throughout the EP. We do think in this respect that there could be a little more continuity to the group vocals, they work and successfully indicate the frustration and anguish in the song’s narratives, but they seem to crop up in random places and it feels like if there was more of a form to them they would fully justify their existence.
As much as Brooke’s efforts compliment the melodies, they aren’t always conveyed with enough conviction, and though in most cases she hits the right notes, they aren’t always hit quite at the right time. At this point though it is important to remember that she stepped in to the booth having been in the band only 2 days, and the newest single they have produced still features Brooke up front, and she has gone a long way toward cementing her role upfront – confronting all of those per mentioned demons.
Not my problem is one of the predominant tracks to make use of secondary vocals from guitarist and founding member Tom Lakiszak and it really works. Granted it works in that ‘American punk-rock’ way but hey, Burned at Both ends do punk-rock. Oh, and they’re American.
The Timeless Art of Seduction, allows the guitars to wrap themselves around the teenage angst ridden lyrics like a pair of hunting snakes. The drums smash the band through this track that encapsulates the feeling achieved by getting rid of that one person you’ve fooled yourself into believing cared about you. Using lines that stab like “You couldn’t be any worse than this” – ouch!
The final track is Packed Your bags, the band describe it as “being about finding that new love and not caring about what any one else says and just making it work”. Which is almost an apt way to describe the whole EP.
We don’t think at this point Burned at Both Ends had really found their sound or ‘new love’ but all signs seem to point toward the band getting near that point now, however ‘Technically we’re rich in Canada’ does show they can “not care what anyone thinks and make it work”. This is because despite all it’s roughness it does what is required, it satisfies like a melancholic shot of cheap whiskey at the bar of heartache, sometimes that’s just what you need!