While not being a band you may be aware of, Guernsey’s Burning At Both Ends really are quite good. They claim to be influenced by A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong and State Champs amongst others and they bring a flavour of the sound of each of these to their debut self-titled album.
Opener Priorities Suck gets the album off to a fantastic start as it introduced the punchy basslines and solid drumbeats of the whole record from the very beginning. The track follows a very typical pop punk structure but adds the spin of the group’s abilities: Peter Mitchell’s clean and seemingly effortless vocals coupled with lead guitars and a solid drum/bass rhythm lead to a catchy piece which packs a serious punch.
Particular mention has to go to drummer Andy Nicholson however, who holds the entire record together with the underpinning beat beneath all the tracks and shines particularly in First Plane Home and This Ain’t No Happy Ending where he shows the versatility of quick punk beats, slowed breakdowns and mid-tempo rock grooves to help perfect an all-round good song.
Lyrically, the album holds great emotional weight, not in the stereotypical “I’m angry at my dad” or “my girlfriend left me” ways as many pop punk bands today do, but more in a sense of “look, this has happened and these are my feelings” and using metaphor instead of explicitly stating the obvious all the time. Lines like “cold cup of coffee staring at the wall, sat there for days alone in the hall” are obviously personifying the emotions of the lyricist, but it’s a bit more interesting than the bland old state the obvious job many bands resort to in the modern day.
The standout track has to be Making A Statement which sounds almost like 2008 You Me At Six collided with Mayday Parade-style layers of vocals, which by anyone’s standards can only mean big things are to come from this band. The opening riff sounds like it means business and the rest of the track follows to deliver with vocals that hold Franceschi-like agression and conviction.
A notable mention goes to This Ain’t No Happy Ending which is reminiscent of many pop punk bands of today with its leads over a huge sounding rhythmic beat and semi-tuned vocals that deliver an inherent angst and realism that they have throughout the album before this track.
Overall then, Burning At Both Ends have managed to put together a pretty remarkable debut that showcases their talents with ease. Clashing good songwriting with excellent musical ability, the band have managed to put together one of the best debut releases of the year of any unsigned band and there is no doubt they will be going somewhere soon…