Burning Hank - Seriously, It's Getting Us Down (Flat Mind Records)
Jared Lynn | Tuesday, 03 August 2010
Seriously, It's Getting Us Down starts on a sugary high with 'Cake'. It's a good opener about the delicacies of the dessert, namely cherry pie, which is fine by me, because who doesn't love cherry pie? The song is a good introduction, it sounds like a campfire party and as with the whole album it creates images of recording in a grotty shed with tatty guitars and taped-up microphones bought for penny sweets. The sound works and is undoubtedly one of the best aspects of the record.
The problems begin in the second song. 'Cat Has Got Your Tongue' sounds lazy and the lyrics and catchy melody are wiped out by a blasting rhythm. A campfire party is good, but not when the performers sound drunk, loud and overbearing.
The album picks up again with 'Keep Digging', a sweet sing-a-long with a catchy, albeit twee, chorus. It's a charmer, with lyrics leaving you feeling just a bit more upbeat about life.
The highlight of the album is 'Worried About Coop', a song about the TV series Twin Peaks. Crammed with references to Lynch's show, it will surely make fans smile and if not, it's got a great melody to back it up.
Sadly the final seven songs serve no purpose whatsoever and add absolutely nothing to the album except annoy the listener. Three of the tracks are under one-minute-thirty and it's no surprise they sound lazy. 'Al's on Strike' is a monotonous chant of the title, sounding like a dying gaggle of geese. 'Modern Medicine' is a pointless anecdote, and 'Socks' even more so. I can't believe the band didn't have anything better to put in, and I find it harder to believe they thought it sounded good.
It's difficult to stomach the album past track five and you do it in the hope that the next tune has some kind of depth, but it never happens. By the time you hit 'Socks' at number eleven you'll have heard more than enough pointless lyrics about annoyingly trivial subjects. Then you have to suffer 'Earthquake', which is loud, whiney and wholly unpleasant. Anyone who trudges through the final seven deserves a very big medal, and will probably need a whiskey in a silent room afterwards.
For an album which teases that it might cheer you up with a blasé attitude towards life, it instead leaves you annoyed, frustrated and reaching for the stop button.