Friday, 2 June 2017

Album Review: Alterations by The Burnt Tapes (by Robyn Pierce)


The Burnt Tapes have been promising to bring out some new music since late last year and their new EP Alterations is finally set to release on 2 June via Lockjaw Records & Umlaut Records. These London-based punk rockers recently played Manchester Punk Festival (hopefully I’ll be able to catch them there next year) and are steadily growing their music catalogue. The band includes fellow CPRW writer Pan, who joins Phil, Tone and Jo (you have to appreciate the simple, one-syllabled economy of these names) in creating raspy and richly-textured melodic punk. With a solid effort to let go of any anxiety about reviewing one of CPRW’s ‘local’ bands, I plunged straight into Alterations.


From the very beginning of the title track to the last few notes of The End of Airlie Gardens, there is a smile firmly plastered on my face. I’m relieved and happy that this EP is so damn good. Alterations begins with some warm, slightly muted guitar before bursting open with the full force of the band and hitting you with some majestic bass lines. The raspy vocals provide an edgy contrast to the bright guitar tone and the bounding melody, while the lyrics speak to the difficult process of ‘untangling the mess’ left behind by someone else and the personal changes involved in this process. This short and punchy opener is followed by Oh, Marie, which drops you straight into some vibrant guitar chords. I like the guitar flourishes that are layered on top of the chorus and how this plays against the more somber palm muting in the verses.

The next track, Wayne Regretsky (hehe), is not only pun-k-tastic (no? too much?) it also moves well between more straightforward, bass-driven verses and more guitar-driven, musically rich sections. The result is a kind of marriage between old-school simplicity and huskiness, and skillful post-punk exuberance. I also like the message of Wayne Regretsky, which talks about the ways in which failure and regret can provide positive lessons. It’s possibly my favourite track off of Alterations. These different elements are further blended together in Ghosts, which incorporates a pounding groove, gruff vocals and some beautiful top notes. Then, in Things Get Weird I’m picking up some serious Pup vibes. The song starts slowly, drawing you in with looping guitar, and then rips open with aggressive gang vocals. It’s quite a solemn and sentimental song with some twists and turns (I really like the bass flourishes on this track. Lately, I seem to be all about that bass – but not in the lame Meghan Trainor way.) Last up is The End of Airlie Gardens, which hits you again with some gorgeous, soaring guitar and more gang vocals.

The more I hear from The Burnt Tapes, the more I enjoy the music they’re putting out. I’m so glad they were able to finally get this EP together, because these are fantastic, interesting and well-worked songs. I’m going to have Alterations on rotation for a while, and I think we can only expect more good things from this band.

Stream and download Alterations here: https://lockjawrecords.bandcamp.com/album/alterations-3

Buy the vinyl version of Alterations here: http://umlautrecords.bigcartel.com/product/burnt-tapes-alteration-pre-order-2-6-17-exclusive-tshirt-and-vinyl-bundle

Like The Burnt Tapes here: https://www.facebook.com/burnt.tapes/

This revew was written by Robyn Pierce