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Blood Brothers - Burn, Piano Island, Burn

  by Mark Rowland

published: 7 / 5 / 2003

Blood Brothers - Burn, Piano Island, Burn
Label: Second Nature
Format: LP


Impressive anti-emo third album from the Blood Brothers who have made "a challenging yet also surprisingly accessible record that manages to transcend genres without losing any aggression"

This is fantastic. For those of you who're getting bored of all the retro thinking rock bands around at the moment, this record is for you, a rock record that's moving forwards rather than looking to the past for all its ideas. The Blood Brothers' sound is difficult to pin down, but you'd get a similar basic sound if you played a metal-core record at 45 instead of 33 rpm. 'Burn, Piano Island, Burn', their third album, develops the chaotic art-core sound the band perfected on their previous releases 'Adultery is Ripe' and 'March on Electric Children', utilising elements of dub and soul, as well as expanding their sound with pianos, electric organ, and even a xylophone. The band have suddenly started getting a lot of media attention over the last few months, and have been doing more and more high profile shows, including a stadium tour with the Used. As well as this, you may have heard that the Blood Brothers albums are produced by Ross Robinson. Please don't let this put you off. 'Burn, Piano Island, Burn' is definitely not a nu-metal album. Far from it, this is the long awaited reaction against it. While the Blood Brothers' have some things in common with both emo and metal-core bands, there are also a lot of things that set them apart, and ahead, of all of them. The Blood Brothers' songs tend to vary more in both dynamics and tempo when compared to most metal-core bands, and rather than follow the same melodic formula as most emotional punk acts, their songs have a great sense of anti-melody that is surprisingly catchy (see the choruses of 'Ambulance vs. Ambulance' and 'Every Breath is a Bomb' for prime examples). The band has two singers which compliment each other perfectly, one a low sex-offender mumble (Jordan Blilie), the other a hyperactive wail (Johnny Whitney). Both also do a lot of shouting. Having two singers allows the band to have different vocal parts going on at the same time, which gives them a new dimension to their songs, as well as allowing them to do great Atari Teenage Riot style group chants. The Blood Brothers' song-writing has developed a lot since their last two records. The tracks are longer than on their previous albums, with more complex structures and a more prominent sense of twisted anti-pop in a lot of songs. One of the best examples of this is the chaotic yet soaring closer 'The Shame', the quietest song on the album, which has a quiet/loud/quiet/slightly louder structure dynamically, and finishes with a catchy repeated vocal phrase, with a kind of answering backup vocal, "Everything is gonna be just awful/ when we're around", which epically builds up before stopping dead. Another is the patchwork of styles that make up 'Every Breath is a Bomb', which puts heavy, quirky guitars onto a waltz-y, swung rhythm, with a reggae influenced bit in the middle and a piano-led chorus (I keep calling different parts of songs 'verse' and 'chorus', but really most of these songs don't follow any standard song structures). In a time when a lot of popular heavy rock and punk is stale and uninteresting, The Blood Brothers have gone and made a challenging yet also surprisingly accessible record that manages to transcend genres without losing any aggression. Definitely one of my first contenders for this year's top records.

Track Listing:-
1 Guitarmy
2 Fucking's Greatest Hits
3 Burn, Piano Island, Burn
4 Every Breath is a Bomb
5 Ambulance vs. Ambulance
6 USA Nails
7 Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon
8 Six Nightmares at the Pinball Masquerade
9 The Salesman, Denver Max
10 I Know Where the Canaries and the Crows Go
11 God Bless You, Blood Thirsty Zeppelins
12 The Shame
13 Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon (Live - Reading Festival 2005)
14 Pink Tarantulas

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