Signs and Wonders – The Burner Band (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

If ever there was an album where I knew immediately that I was going to like it, this is it.

With a mix of bluegrass, rock n roll and tongue in cheek lyrics, the music by duo The Burner Band is nothing if not enjoyable.

Sure, to some, the music might seem twee and naïve (this kind of music has been around since the 1950s) but the formula still holds up and to move away from it would be to move into something else entirely.

Considering all of the instruments (except the odd guest musician) are played by either ‘Lewis’ or ‘Ian’ it’s a great achievement. Having a limited source of inspiration can often lead to songs sounding the same, musicians bring different things to the songwriting table, an inspiration here, a guitar lick there and a song can change direction, but the eleven songs never feel closely related to the point of lack of imagination.

The songs are mostly based around the skiffle drum shuffle with guitar, plodding bass and the occasional slide guitar, harmonica or banjo popping up to support cleverly harmonised vocal work.

‘Voodoo Queen’ reminds me of the Tex-Mex rhythm that The Mavericks made famous in the ’90s with ‘Dance the Night Away’ and it still manages to move the feet of even the most reluctant punter.

The album is a walk down memory lane, this music was the inspiration for the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and countless other young men that lapped up the Donnie Lonegan guitar style and dreamed of crossing America in an empty rail cart, plucking a banjo as the cotton fields passed by. 

The fact this music is still popular lies heavily with bands like this who refuse to let it go and still manage to find relevance in its style.

I know it won’t be to everyone tastes, but I liked this and if anything I’ve said in this review draws some interest from you, seek it out and have a listen too.

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