Scene and Heard – CCCXLVI : Burn – Transylvania Stud (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

16649514_1901827056725746_307287144964464834_nIf you think that rock music hasn’t really moved forward in recent years then you haven’t been paying attention to bands such as Transylvania Stud. This is a band who manage to combine some familiar musical building blocks with their own original mortar to create a sound which takes in all your favourite sonic pose and poise from across the years yet offers it up in new and refreshing ways. Despite a name which may conjure a more glam or gothy image, Transylvania Stud actually make music which fits right into the American, desert blues scene, somewhere around the point where the stoner vibe of the early champions such as Kyuss evolved into a tighter, more commercially viable but no less aggressive sound, typified by The Queen’s of the Stone Age.

The first thing you noticed is the weight of the music, by god this is heavy music, never in a gratuitous effort to simply make a lot of unfocused noise, this, Burn is a cornucopia of gloriously taut riffs, powerhouse rhythms, focused beats and driven, often unexpectedly groovesome bass lines. The charm comes from the fact that although it is the sound of four musicians playing at the top of the alt-rock game, they rarely give away all the goods at once, preferring instead to serve the song and wait for their rare, individual moment in the spotlight, teasing and taunting the listener. Any showboating is reduced to intricate motifs and clever sonic designs which spice the music rather than lime-lit ego massaging that rock is infamous for.

Transylvania Stud aren’t about breaking the mould or even breaking with tradition, but they are torch-bearers, those keeping a sound alive and just adding enough spit and polish, vim and vigour to keep it relevant and exciting for a new generation. But more than anything they trade in honesty. Whereas many going into the studio succumb to the temptation of adding extra layers of music, double track the hell out of everything, use all the techno tricks and sonic gimmickry available to them, Burn feels like it is the band as live, that this is exactly what you’d get to hear from them on stage without such safety nets and camouflage to hide behind.

Maybe for the main, rock music hasn’t moved forward all that much of late, the big dinosaur and stadium bands seem to still be the focus of many’s attention, rock bands have popped out or indie-d up to try and find a more lucrative commercial pathway, fashion seems to be the way forward and an army of identi-kit, style over substance bands with skinny black jeans and complicated hair rule the roost.  Well, thank god for bands like Transylvania Stud. It looks like good, honest rock and roll is back on the menu.


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