Punk for the Soul

Songs to Die For (Independent)
The Burial

By Kevin Gibson

Punk isn't dead, despite what emo has done to it. My proof? Louisville's own The Burial, whose self-titled album, just released, is as much a breath of fresh air to a punk fan like myself as Rancid's ... And Out Come the Wolves was, well, nearly 10 years ago now.

I'm an old guy, but somewhere along the way punk skewed away from the fun the Ramones brought and the social awareness and distaste for restraint bands like the Voidoids displayed. The Burial finds a comfortable space in between it all, churning out high-octane songs that offer enough accessible melodies to please a Green Day fan and enough energy and aural anger to at least pacify the Bad Religion lovers.

The truth is, I dig pop-punk. (I admit it! I like Green Day! I'm NOT an animal.) This isn't full-out pop-punk, but as I said, it definitely flirts with it. What the Burial does right is be itself - truth be told, most of these songs are about loneliness over having lost The Girl. It's a common theme in all forms of music, but so many of today's punk and hardcore bands seem to think it's a taboo subject simply because of that fact.

When you look at the back of this locally released CD's art, you see song titles like "The Undead," "Rapid Blood Loss," and "X's For Eyes" that suggest violence and death.

"The Undead" is about someone who feels dead emotionally; "Rapid Blood Loss" is about screwing up a relationship for the umpteenth time and feeling caught between the fear of its demise and the fear it will continue as it is; and "X's For Eyes," while not necessarily about a specific relationship, conveys a feeling of being lost.

What's missing here? Pretense. Pretense that a punk band has to have nihilism pouring from its orifices in order to be considered punk. S**t, it's music. Let it be what it is. That's what the Burial does.

So imagine my surprise when I got to "Rock and Roll Acceleration," a story about an evening with a punk band that is f**ked up on drugs, can barely play, nails some underage fans, crashes its van in suburbia and ends the evening by proclaiming themselves "F**ked-up kids in a punk rock band" and shouting to the world, "F**k your rules and f**k the man / We want f**king rock and roll acceleration / F**k your mom and your dad."

OK, read carefully now, because I'm only going to type this once: They're making fun.

What we have here is a group of guys doing what they want to do (isn't that more punk than what the embittered and heartbroken emo kids are doing?) and with a pop sensibility that sneaks up on you. Truly, when lead vocalist Johnny D and his counterpart Jamison Land harmonize, it sounds damn good. It's great to not only hear that but also be able to believe what you're hearing them sing about.

Accelerate at www.theburial.net.