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Burning Brides
Fall Of The Plastic Empire
File 13

Iíve discovered that lately I just donít have the patience for albums to seep in slowly. My job assaults me with music on a daily basis, and this year most of it has been going in one ear, numbing my fragile little mind, and going out the other, hardly noticed, never missed. Quite frankly Iím not an emo kind of girl, and my Anglophile tendencies have been waning lately, due in large part to disappointing albums from mainstays like Travis and Radiohead. (Zzzzzzzz.) So the past few months have been about late 70s/early 80s UK punk (The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and Crass) and a healthy dose of Guns Ďní Roses. Hey, I didnít say it made sense. All I know is that if quiet is the new loud, screw it. Iíll stick with the loud, hipster credibility be damned.

Philadelphiaís Burning Brides feel my pain. Their debut, Fall Of The Plastic Empire, is a full-on sonic middle finger to wishy-washy indie bands across the land. Remember the scene in High Fidelity where Jack Black asks what the hell is playing, Dick responds "Belle & Sebastian", and Black says, "Well it SUCKS!" Thatís what this album is like and sweet Jesus, itís about time someone called it the way they see it. The very first notes of opener "Plank of Fire" will have you dusting off that vinyl copy of Black Sabbathís Paranoid youíve been hiding from all of your friends the past few years and cranking the bitch up Ďtil your windows are vibrating. This isnít music meant to cater to any particular subgenre of Ďalternative rockí Ė itís just R-O-C-K, plain and simple. Burning Brides is about loud, brash, fuzzy, cranked-to-11 guitars, a rhythm section that sounds as if itís coming from the garage and through your bedroom wall, and a vocal delivery that shifts from a snarl to a near-shriek with the conviction of a punk singer, all crammed into ten songs worth of sarcasm, irony, and a swaggering enthusiasm that indicates either a bit of self-lubrication or no fear. Iím going with the latter.

The influences are all over the place here, and mentioning them will only come across as pretentious namedropping, but I will say that they take from the best. They even dip into classic rock-esque masturbatory guitar play, but in this case itís an asset, not a hindrance. "Stabbed In The Back Of The Heart" is one of the best F-you songs Iíve heard in recent memory, employing one of those monotonous bass lines that are so bleediní brilliant because it makes the song seem that much nastier, and "If Iím A Man" swaggers like the Replacements (oops, namedropped) at their drunk best, only to meld seamlessly into some trippy guitar noodling and a spoken word bit that should be retarded but somehow comes off as being smart ass and clever. "Arctic Snow" even dips its toe into speed metal at one point, and thereís a few lo-fi moments that are more than a shade Sonic Youth (damn, did it again). Then thereís "Rainy Days" with its infectious, near-sparkling chorus that brings to mind Simon & Garfunkel of all things!

Does this all sound a bit schizophrenic? This album should be a mess, and it is, but itís beyond sublime. There isnít a single contrived note on the damn thing, and not one ounce of posturing. Burning Brides wanna bring you down to the gutter with them, and fer chrissakes, let them. This is music to rip the knees and ass out of your Levis.

ó Heather Space

Track Listing:

  1. Plank Of Fire
  2. Glass Slipper
  3. If Iím A Man
  4. Arctic Snow
  5. At The Levity Ball
  6. Stabbed In The Back Of The Heart
  7. Rainy Days
  8. Elevator
  9. Blood On The Highway
  10. Plastic Empire

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