Burning Love

Rotten Thing to Say

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The myriad subgenres bestowed upon popular music have become so infinitely intertwined that one literally has to get kicked in the head by rock & roll to recognize its presence in relatively pure form. Burning Love's Rotten Thing to Say is that kind of kick in the head. Never mind its puke-inducing cover art (a butcher's idea of a sick joke!), nor its suspicious association with the sonically extreme Southern Lord label, nor even the telltale hardcore, crust, and metal roots that fuel its innate aggression -- this is rock & roll by any other name, bruthers n' sistas! To be sure, each one of those styles propels this album's more intensely urgent numbers ("No Love," "Superstitious Friend," the 39-second "Tremors," et al.), and exceedingly dark lyrics are pretty much the order of the day almost throughout (look no further than the twisted torture detailed in "Karla" for that). But lumping more textured tracks like "The Body," "Damage Case," and the two-part bipolar "Pig City," with their sundry dynamics, innate grooves, and even downright infectious melodies, into such limiting categories would be doing them an unfair disservice. Yes, in some respects, these nuanced offerings resemble a less unhinged and nihilistic version of Portland, Oregon anarchists Tragedy, while the stubborn tenacity of "12:31" points to New York noise-niks Unsane, so perhaps this is a peculiarly enlightened crustcore album, at the end of the day. But for all intents and purposes, Rotten Thing to Say is, at its essence, nothing more and nothing less than unadulterated rock & roll attitude; the simply outstanding "Hateful Comforts," classic rock-inspired outro guitar solo and all, can be nothing else. So overthink it if you must, or accept Burning Love's emphatic kick in the head for what it is and let your ears do the rest.

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