A British foursome who have never sounded so American e-mailed me this week. Combining some true Yankee sounds in a kooky British manner, their finished product can only be described as eclectic. Burning Condors are about to release their debut album which has already spawned singles such as Honey Trap, Knockout and Love On The Rocks. Described by The Evening Standard as “the four-headed lovechild of the Sex Pistols and the Strokes: dirty, diabolical and downright brilliant.”
Indeed, there is so much of both punk and indie gods in their sound together the unmistakeable country and blues influences. It begins with Dirty Girl Blues and its fuzzy blues riff growling through the unpolished rock vocals. There’s a great retro feel to the dirty catchy rhythm which precedes an unusual electronic reels from the guitar. During the breakdown, the guitar reverberates adding a modern unique twist.
Both the title track and Killing Time have the frantic, punk-inspired vocals with the country twang on the guitar. On Killing Time, there is a jerky British indie slant which isn’t as strong again on the album. There are also some weird and wacky vocal licks on Killing Time paired with a long, drawn-out guitar. So much merging of anarchy and serious blues occurs and it’s a pairing that isn’t often seen.
Short and sweet but so full of retro charm is Polka Dot Girl. It’s the catchiest on the album with a dark dancing riff and dirty indie vocals. The ricocheting backing vocals add to the character of the song which has a fierce alternative rock guitar solo in the second half before the final push. It’s actually a pretty structured song compared to the others around it. In fact, it’s the total opposite of Love On The Rocks, which is not a cover of the Neil Diamond classic. Add heaps more attitude, a much more angry method of expressing anguish and a very irregular vocal pattern.
Perhaps the most American song is Honey Trap. Shimmering cymbals combine with a calming blues riff and retro rock ‘n’ roll vocals which seem to purr seductively. As a result, it has a theatrical quality to it that gives the impression it would be a real live showcase. Whining rodeo guitar notes carry this lovesick song along to the sound of resonating “woah oh oh ohs”. Another rodeo party anthem is in Love Is Dead, which is almost like a lament for love. Again, the country rock vibe is back and it joins a wailing blues riff which cries its way through the track.
Reverting swiftly back to alternative rock and punk on Twisted Kind Of Bliss with its fierce angst and frantic nature. It’s a great moshpit anthem with repetitive riffs that slam against each other, creating a testosterone-fuelled collision. It calms down towards the end with a piercing, drawn out note that limps towards the end. Last Train Home is similar in its style with the fast-paced tricky guitar and mental, passionate vocals. Both songs are real crowd pleasers that will certainly provoke a reaction.
Toning it down a little is Knockout, which is a more chilled song with dark rippling riffs suggesting a sinister undertone. Indeed, it’s a strange smoky song and the title itself is a double meaning referring to both the girl in question and the act of passing out through physical violence. The real truth is a little blurred but it’s obvious that it’s a much more serious song that the others. There’s even an odd jazz moment in the piano tinkles. Intriguing and sexy, it raises more questions that it answers.
Ending on Bringing Back The Blues, which takes on a Jake Bugg-esque vocal with reverberating twangs. It’s a retro party track with resonating country riffs and again, the theatre in their performance is apparent. Bringing together the blues, punk, indie and country on the last track is what they needed to do on an album like this and there are definitely flavours of each on it.
If you love the sounds of the deep South combined with some classic British tastes, this album is definitely for you. Never have two such different cultures -that of the conservative, clean country and that of the anarchic, chaotic punk- been so successfully merged. Due to that, Round Our Way could well be a revolutionary album.