Recently I was introduced a band that evoked images of 70's era progressive and bands like Pink Floyd. The album was absolutely dripping in 70's atmosphere while remaining relevant, contemporary, and above all interesting musically. That band was called Astra and the album was called, appropriately, The Weirding. It was a weird album, but one that proved very successful in hitting its target. Now I am confronted with another band that evokes images of the 70's and is also successful at retaining a modern relevance in their sound. The band is Barn Burner and the album is called Bangers. When you hear the music you will recognize how appropriate the title is.
While they bring the 70's to mind like Astra, Barn Burner does it in a very different way. Rather than bringing smooth progressive rock to mind with its atmospheric excess, Barn Burner brings us straight up rock and roll with a southern twist. Touches of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, a little bit of Black Sabbath, a liberal sprinkle of Thin Lizzy, a side dish of Iron Maiden, perhaps a smidgen of punk, and a dash of Corrosion of Conformity for a more recent frame of reference and you get an idea of what Barn Burner is like.
Barn Burner is a band whose music sounds as if it has been soaked in a bottle of Tennessee whiskey that was then smashed across a vintage Marshall stack with a mid-1960s Gibson SG or Les Paul connected through a fuzz box. The rock and roll is authentic, heavily groove oriented and very easy to go along with. From the opening moments of "Holy Smokes," which could have been an Iron Maiden tune if they chose not to pioneer metal and dove into the rock pool.
This Montreal based band does not have its eyes set on changing the rock world or really pushing any envelopes. No, I do not get that feeling at all. Instead, they have placed their focus on making music that you can turn up and rock out to. The sort of music that will play well at a smoke filled bar where the beer and the Jack flow freely. Groove based rock with memorable riffs, moderately paced turns that you can sit back and rock your head to without spilling your drink.
For all of the old school, retro-rock bluster, it is not all that Barn Burner is. There are some punkish turns, such as "Long Arm of the Law," while others have a somewhat Mastodon-like quality to them like "Medium Rare." Barn Burner does fall squarely in that rock category, but their influences come from all corners and blend into an easy going, yet still intense, hard rock that will hold your attention once you get hooked.
I can only imagine what this is like in the live setting. I can see a floor filled with guys rocking their heads, bears held high in acknowledgment of what is happening on the stage. I can see the band up on the stage, playing through a cloud of smoke and multi-colored spotlights, asking for the monitors to be turned up. They are ripping through the rocking tunes with reckless abandon, occasionally flipping out a little while emphatically swinging their guitars in time to the riff. I don't know about you but that sounds like a good time to me. Besides, how can you go wrong with a band that has a song called "Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow"?
Bottomline. If you like rock and roll with a good groove, check out Barn Burner. Barn Burner is a band that is about a rocking good time, their music is proof positive of that. What else do you really need?