The precise date of Mohawk's extremely rare fifth album remains uncertain; even the artist herself can't be sure, since Burnin' Shinin' was released without her knowledge, with only the smallest of print runs. It's a modest collection of pop, soul and new wave, lacking for the most part any of Mohawk's charming trademark eccentricity. Instead, we're presented with well-crafted, radio-ready pop, something Mohawk displays a surprising aptitude for (a few years later, she was to pen Cyndi Lauper's massive "Change of Heart" single). "It's No Secret" is a perky synth-driven cut that's similar in sound to much of Laura Nyro's mid-'80s Mother's Spiritual album, and establishes the style adhered to throughout. Along the way, the occasional love-ridden ballad, most notably "I Can't Turn the Night Off," makes an appearance too. It's a relief to report that there's also an occasional sighting of Mohawk's left-field leanings; "Take Me Columbia," a stuttering guitar rock-out, is a pleasantly daffy tribute to space travel. But aside from its better tracks, Burnin' Shinin' is unlikely to be anyone's favorite Essra Mohawk album.
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