February 24, 2004

Burden Brothers "Buried In Your Black Heart"

Yeeeee-haw!!!!!! The Toadies ride again!

Don't try to argue with me that this ain't the Toadies, because you ain't gonna win that one. They were nothing without the unique blues/hard rock crooning of Todd Lewis, who belted out song after song with all of the intensity of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. "Possom Kingdom" was a really great, well-deserved hit, made even nicer by the fact that the Toadies were the kind of band you wanted to succeed. Well, long story short, the Toadies got screwed, not the least of which was the fact that their record label forced them to wait an unfair and utterly pointless seven years to release their second album. Though they toured during that release-drought, it wasn't until 2000 that their fans got their long-awaited follow-up. It was a damn good record, too; had it been released when it should have, the Toadies would probably be together, and would probably have even more hits in their back catalog. Of course, the fire in the 'alt-rock' engine had long since burned out, and it is no surprise that they disbanded not long after the album's release.

If Lewis had decided to completely walk away from music, it would have been quite understandable. But considering he did wait out his record label for seven long years, quitting just doesn't seem to be a word that Lewis understands. He's a tenacious bugger, and he announced that his new band, the Burden Brothers, was going to do things a little bit different. Instead of rushing out to find a new label and start the game all over again, they were going to do things on their terms. They self-released several excellent EP's, and though it's a bit of a shock to find them on a major label, I'm neither surprised nor taken aback that he's decided to get back on the horse again. Besides, if you've got such great skills, there's no reason to reside in the ghetto of obscurity.

Buried In Your Black Heart is a nonstop rock storm of blues-rock, hard-rock and just plain ol' good time ROCK AND ROLL. Yes, it probably would have been the third Toadies album. It sounds like a Toadies album, and this, my friends, is a GOOD thing. Hell Below/Stars Above, their ill-fated second album, was a real shitstorm of hard rock, and it was a relentlessly AWESOME record. But little promotion and the band being dropped afterwards meant that nobody heard it, which is a damn shame. If anything, the years of self-releasing their own records has served them well, as Buried in Your Black Heart has a hard, rootsy vibe to it that comes only from working hard. From the opening "Buried in Your Black Heart," you, dear listener, are given nothing more than the best of Todd Lewis.
Then, it only gets better; with such wonderful tracks as "Beautiful Night," "Shadow," You're So God Damn Beautiful" and "Do For Me," Lewis and company never let up on the rock onslaught.

Sure, some might accuse Lewis of being like AC/DC, but like AC/DC, the Burden Brothers have a formula. It's a great formula. It works. End of story. Buried In Your Black Heart--debut Burden Brothers album or really the newest Toadies album? It's your choice. Either way, it's a winning prospect for you, dear listener. Now, how's about a tour, dear Brothers, so I can get drunk and rowdy?

--Joseph Kyle

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