tue 22/05/2018

CD: The Burning Hell - Revival Beach | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Burning Hell - Revival Beach

CD: The Burning Hell - Revival Beach

The erudite Canadians tackle the impending apocalypse

The Burning Hell's 'Revival Beach': a toe-tapper

“The Babysitter” tells the story of a Scottish spy embedded with the Nazis during World War Two who has come home. His sister tells him that Unity Mitford is convalescing at a nearby cottage. Visiting, he finds that it’s a maternity home. The details are not revealed, but our spy duly becomes a full-time baby sitter: “The world is safe from an English orphan Hitler,” sings Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell. Mitford, real-life Nazi sympathiser and chum of Hitler, had in this tale been preparing to give birth to the Führer's child.

Canadian trio The Burning Hell’s eighth album is a collection of song-stories ranging from an account of an emergency room doctor who instantly falls in love with the blood-spattered victim of police brutality to a word game demonstrating how the armed forces recruit through pop culture allusions. That Kom delivers his smart, succinct and droll lyrics with an enviable straightforwardness would make Revival Beach notable enough, but the album’s 13 tracks are songs as such: toe-tappers which can be hummed.

There are nods to klezmer on the impressionistic clarinet-led instrumental “Race to Revival Beach” among the tracks focussing on Kom's musical partner Ariel Sharrat. There's psychedelia on the hilariously dry “Canadian Wine”. But the main musical hallmark is a fondness for a third/fourth album Velvet Underground. When Cass McCombs was so inclined, he was a musical kindred spirit.

The Burning Hell’s fundamental driver is that there is no shame in being clever. Revival Beach is inspired by the sense that fears of the impending apocalypse are no longer limited to religious zealots or survivalists. We are, as Kom persuasively argues, all in it together.

Overleaf: Watch the video for “The River (Never Freezes Anymore)” from Revival Beach

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters