I don’t know what it is about the UK, but I feel like every time I review a modern day no bullshit lion hearted hard rock band, they always seem to be from somewhere in the UK. This time we have The Burning Crows, a band who try and maintain an old styled sleazy rock image while playing music loud and proud on their soon-to-be-released album Murder at the Gin House.
It seems to be a loud, sometimes sleazy but definitely badass sound that The Burning Crows strive to perfect. It’s obvious with songs like opening track Hell To Pay, Shine, 11:37 and others that they just want it hard. But there’s more to these songs than just loud guitars and wild drumming. I’ve reviewed many bands who think the essentials to hard rock are simply borderline exceptional guitar riffs and having everything louder than everything else. The Burning Crows make it evident on even the heaviest songs from Murder at the Gin House that they know having a proper hook in a song is essential.
Murder at the Gin House is not all sordid and boisterous. I mean a song like Come On is unforgivably sleazy (and frankly kind of plain compared to other tracks on the album) but there are also tracks that go beyond The Burning Crows comfort zone. It starts with the song Alright, which may also be another hard rock much like all of the previously mentioned songs, but its intro shows some real musicality from the entire band as songwriters and not just from lead vocalist Whippz‘s vocal melodies. Feels Like Home has an organic boogie woogie to it, and it may also be another hard as nails track but it sounds nothing like anything else on Murder at the Gin House.
The song that most impresses me is the closing track Holding On, which is a far cry from the loud and crunchy chops The Burning Crows have laid down on most of the album. Holding On isn’t a ballad, at least not the way that Murder at the Gin House‘s other ballad Goodbye (To The Sunshine) is. Goodbye (To The Sunshine) sounds like a hair metal ballad, with some emotion, but really it just feels more like The Burning Crows are trying to fill a quota that says an album should have a ballad. She’s The Summertime, another lighter hearted song on the album and one of the my personal favourites, isn’t quite a ballad, but it has the heart of one and also sounds like something a band from the later days of hair metal could have made. Holding On doesn’t sound like the band is trying to sound like they are from the 80s. I mean it doesn’t sound like a modern rock song, but it still sounds like the most genuine piece of work on the entire album, and though it sounds so different, it still fits so well.
Murder at the Gin House does have some strong moments. I must admit I’m impressed, the way I’m usually impressed when a band that tries to sound like a no bullshit hard rock band – much the way The Burning Crows do – can actually release songs of some quality. I think I’m just a little jaded from past bands I’ve reviewed or have at least listened to who actually believe what they are making is good while in fact it isn’t. Comparing The Burning Crows to those bands is like comparing Deep Purple to the band playing your local dive tonight. In reality The Burning Crows have work to do to make their songs stand out even more. Only a few tracks are true standouts while the rest are pretty good to listen to wouldn’t stop listeners from moving on to something else shortly.
“Shine” – It would have to be one of the hard rocking songs that I’d pick as the highlight, I mean my highlights have to represent the entire album, so Shine was a logical choice because I feel it’s the most melodic of the harder songs on Murder at the Gin House with just the right melodies and hooks, both vocally and musically.
7 (Out of 10)
|1.||Hell To Pay||5:25|
|5.||Goodbye (To The Sunshine)||5:04|
|7.||A Little Bit More||3:30|
|8.||She’s The Summertime||3:56|
|9.||Feels Like Home||4:47|