Greg Norton, once the bassist for one of the most influential bands to come out of the American alternative punk scene, Hüsker Dü, alongside Finny McConnell, a name you’ll recognise from thirty years as the frontman of the Canadian Irish folk punks The Mahones. Holding it together in the engine room is one of the finest drummers and most in-demand sticksmiths the UK has thrown up in the last few decades is the drumming powerhouse that is Jamie Oliver.
There you go I’ve got your attention now and I’ll say this, leave any preconceived ideas of what you are about to listen to and drop the needle or press play with a clean pallet and ‘Time To Burn’ will reward you 100 times over. Take on board that this platter was written and recorded in just four day! Yup four fuckin’ days! Wow.
The title track gets things underway with Oliver revving up his Bass drum before the song breaks out into a widescreen slice of ultracool power pop like the sounds a Buffalo Tom used to play with the guitars turned up a little and a great melody from Finny McConnell. It’s got a great tempo and a real blast of energy a fantastic opener that’ll make you sit up and pay attention. It is indeed Time To Burn.
The band then heads down a route with a barroom riff that’s windmilling throwing it out there creating a sidestep from the opener with more menace and showing that this beast has teeth. ‘Star’ has single written all over it like a cross between the opener and early Goo Goo Dolls and American college radio running through its veins I might be wrong but Husker Du comes to the fore.
Now we’re getting warmed up as the sprightly ‘I Can Make It’ rolls into view. With some exceptional drumming throwing this one in all directions like a blender of their histories and this comes out. some great vocals (again) and one of the songs that I’ve kept going back to. Oh, and turn it up baby it sounds even better.
The album flip flops through tempos with ‘Feels’ veering into Dinosaur Jr territory with some loud guitars twisting and turning all over the track. Don’t be lulled into a false sense with the dreamy intro on ‘Stickman vs Hangman’ – hold in there it’s like a rocket getting launched as it peaks it burns most brightly. You also have some Rock with ‘Faded Way’ where the collaboration works really well from the groove they hit to the melodies and backing vocals – we all know these guys can play and the solo on this is exceptional with drama and tension being used to great effect.
As the album steams toward its conclusion there are no weak tracks at all and the chemistry the three clearly have is a gift that keeps giving, ‘Super Hero Shit’ is a stone-cold banger, plain and simple it rocks like fuck, and is simple in its construction but it just works. The penultimate offering is ‘Like The Wind’ with its calmer more measured tempo and delivery in the intro before being counted out and turbocharging towards the finale.
That’s ten tracks of the highest caliber and one that will make many friends and if there’s any justice will do extremely well for the trio. One of the finest albums I’ve heard all year and for a debut, it’s exceptionally good. I would however temper my enthusiasm with the cover of the Dead Boys classic ‘Sonic Reducer’. Although there’s nothing wrong with this interpretation of it, some songs are sacred and should be left well alone, and if I’m being picky it’s because I’d have preferred to hear another original tune rather than a decent cover. It’s a magical song that can’t be improved upon but as a tip of the hat, I get that, maybe a B side? but I’m not going to let one (very good version I might add) song take anything away from what should be in your top ten come the end of the year. Banger! Make no mistake about that. Absolutely buy it!
Author: Dom Daley