# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Burning Hell - Public Library

  by Erick Mertz

published: 30 / 5 / 2016

Burning Hell - Public Library
Label: BBI
Format: CD


Extraordinary seventh album from novelistic Canadian-based band, the Burning Hell

Perhaps the finest line in existence is drawn between smart and smart-ass. Too far across, you create distance. Right up on it, you can keep the audience spellbound. I saw my old man struggle to understand whether or not I had crossed over that until at nineteen years old I cracked up the entire shop room at his retirement party and he understood where I stood. The Burning Hell, a Canadian band with an onerous name and six albums prior to ‘Public Library’ had made a career out of showing off smart aleck wit, relentlessly cheeky lyricism on some of the most undeniably breezy pop tunes in circulation. What lyricist and singer Mathias Kom demands from his listener is their attention. There are no throwaway songs or lines, a quality which allows his work a really captivating bottom line. That you can tell he loves his own wit enough to share it gives the songs a unique, one of a kind character. It’s intimate in that he’s letting you in on his joke. Running the line between literate and obtuse, public and parody, I feel as though ‘Public Library’ really distances itself from other bright boy rock (think of Art Brut). It’s performance art, stories brought to life in a unique way. While Kom’s songwriting doesn’t exhibit the preciousness of Colin Meloy’s re-write of maritime Americana or the drilled down, historic/scientific nerdiness of They Might Be Giants, it doesn’t want to be something else, allowing it to become its own whimsically novelistic album. There is no ruining ‘Public Library’ by giving away the gimmick here, so I’ll spill the truth that these songs are all broken off, half written fictions courtesy of Kom. He runs through a hyperactive array of characters and situations that reads, apropos the title, like a sampling of books off of a broad collection. Does it hold up to that weighty standard? It’s fair to say, there are no other love songs like ‘Fuck the Government, I Love You’ and it’s a hard heart that isn’t singing along with ‘Men Without Hats’ by the time its done. My only problem with ‘Public Library’ (if you can call it that) is the song lengths, which at times stretches the suggestion out of the subject. Ween songs tempt the imagination but rubbish that, right? Mathias Kom isn’t writing a Ween song. Smart that comes right up to the line and forever tempts crossing over it is an art. Whether or not you’ve given Kom the right to go there, he’s a master at lyrical provocation, at forcing you to take a side. I suggest you give him the opportunity.

Track Listing:-
1 The Stranger
2 The Road
3 Fuck The Government, I Love You
4 Men Without Heads
5 Good Times
6 Give Up
7 Two Kings
8 Nonfiction

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