Album Reviews

The Blood Brothers – Burn Piano Island. Burn

(Artistdirect) UK release date: 17 March 2003

The Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island. Burn Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s something in the espressos. But there’s certainly something about Seattle that brings out the extreme in people. The troubles of Kurt, Courtney and the Grunge Generation are well documented, and now nearly a generation later, come The Blood Brothers. They’ve not exactly conventional.

The Brothers are five young kids from Seattle barely out of their teens, who specialise in a particularly abrasive form of hardcore. The opening track, Guitarmy, sets out their store perfectly – frantic drums, thrashing guitars and screaming vocals, and all over after 37 seconds. The effect is both disorientating and exhilarating, and is developed over the next few tracks.

The title track in particular shows The Blood Brothers at their best – the two vocalists, Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney spit lyrics at each other over a barrage of noise from the rest of the band. It doesn’t really matter that you can’t make out a word of the lyrics expect for “burn piano island burn” – the music is everything here, and it’s like having a shot of pure adrenaline injected straight into your eardrum.

As undeniably exciting as the band sound, a whole album of this could become a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, they seem to recognise this and introduce a wide variety of sounds throughout the record – an acoustic guitar features prominently throughout The Salesman Denver Max, allowing us to hear just how bizarre the Blood Brothers’ lyrics can be (“My name is Denver Max, I eat heart attacks” – possibly). Xylophones and toy pianos can also be heard, while the fantastically titled God Bless You Blood Thirsty Blood Zeppelins could be described as having an almost ska-ish backing, if the deranged vocals and chaotic guitars were stripped away.

Ultimately The Blood Brothers probably make a lot more sense if you’re 16 years old, fuelled on snakebite and in the middle of a heaving mosh pit. However, Ross Robinson, who has worked with At The Drive-In and Deftones amongst others, has given their sound a new edge without ever laying them open to accusations of selling out. There’s no Hives style crossover hits here, but expect their already healthy cult following to grow and grow.

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