The Burnt Pines – Don’t Look Down
Cruising along with a light touch The Burnt Pines display a homegrown folk-country demeanor that’s sweetened by a pop undercurrent that never interferes with the brightness of their well-conceived melodies. “There’s nothing that God will do for us now…” solidifies their lyrical cleverness in “Bring Out Your Book.”
More upbeat is the Poco-thump & imaginative title tune “Don’t Look Down,” arranged to grab your ear by its lobe & shake your head. Irresistible. The secret to their recipe is that the vocals don’t rely on a country flavor to make it palatable. There’s a drive within songs like “Pushing On,” which are more rooted in new wave’s most melodic techniques – expressively entertaining as artists like — The Mighty Lemon Drops, Wire Train, Guadalcanal Diary, The Woodentops, Ocean Blue & Echo & the Bunnymen. It’s all just below the surface but the vocalizing is that fabulous.
This is their sophomore effort with 12 new songs recorded at Brookline Hills Studios in Brookline, MA & Bairro Up Studios in Lisbon, Portugal. What a mix of atmospheres on the concise 41-minute Don’t Look Down (Drops Feb 3–Adraela Records).
Beautiful bass solo with clarity on “Angels & Violence,” by Fernando Huergo who plays the 5-string electric bass. The songs are inventive, easy to digest & all leave good impressions because the tales are realistic – they dive into lyrics of universal subjects as divorce, escaping, redemption, sense of hope & peace. At times, away from the new wave comparisons the band dabbles thoughtfully in jazzy overtones (“In From the Outside” & “The Ghost Living In My Beer”). Poignancy — like Ghost of an American Airman (“Coathanger Love”) on “Your Magic Is To Blame.” Exceptional.
While not as provocatively dour as The Blue Nile, or Prayer Boat, the band cruises along the rim of the glass with such well-measured ingenuity in their melodies. They have style. Their musicianship sparkles at every turn, they graze genres that are beyond mere roots music but once they touch it – it becomes rootsy, be it jazz, funk, easy-listening ballads, or playful novelty (“Welcome Home!”).
The surprising cover of Jethro Tull’s “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day),” proves this band can do covers. Burnt Pines may become a necessity to many ears. It reminds us of what we love about rock music, roots music & multicultural musicians at their best, together.
Musicians – Kris Skovmand (vocals/acoustic guitar/harmonica), Miguel Sa Pessoa (piano/keys), Aaron Flanders (acoustic/electric guitars/banjo/harmonica/tambourine), Luis Barros (drums/percussion), Dan Fox (double bass on “What Did You Come Back For?”), Erica Leigh & Mariana Lebre Torres (bgv) & Joe Cunningham (tenor sax).
Highlights – “Bring Out Your Book,” “Don’t Look Down,” the superb “What Did You Come Back For?” “Pushing On,” “Angels & Violence,” “In From the Outside”, “Your Magic Is To Blame,” “In From the Outside,” “The Ghost Living In My Beer” & “Daytime TV.”
Color image courtesy of BP website. CD available @ Bandcamp + https://www.theburntpines.com/