Threat Level Burgundy!

Calling Massachusetts their home, Threat Level Burgundy has released a new LP entitled “The Longest Day.”  Let’s check out the ska punk style of this 7-piece outfit which was born in 2008.  Here we go…

 

  1. “Dragons…”-As the name suggests, Threat Level Burgundy comes out roaring with “Dragons.” Style-wise, this sounds like something off of the “Engine of a Million Plots” album ala Five Iron Frenzy.  Although the singing is a bit cumbersome at some points, this is a pretty solid number.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Never Forgive”-Ska of the danceable variety is found in this next ditty. This tune features the same vocalist as the first in addition to another that sound a little like the lead singer from They Might Be Giants.    Grade: B

 

  1. “Never Forget”-Pick it up! After building momentum in the beginning part of the song, there is a quick transition to become the lightning fast ska I grew up on.  The horn section is a major stand-out here, making me want to jump off the couch and start skankin’!  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Face Off”- Fantastic song-smithing is found in “Face Off.” My one critique here is that the harder style vocals didn’t quite go along with the otherwise fun, light-hearted tone of the rest of the song.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Caesar”- Raw punk guitar meets peppy, in your face horns in “Ceaser.” Once again this was a solid tune, which was down-graded due to some awkwardness with the vocals.  Grade: B

 

  1. “1-Up!”- I grew up on both Nintendo and Super Nintendo, so I totally dig the subject matter.  In addition, this is a great horn-driven rock number.  Love it!     Grade: A-

 

  1. “Calibrations”-Cue the gang vocals! Gritty street punk with horns, almost as if Rancid stole a brass section.    Grade: B+

 

  1. “Guest Check”- To be honest, this song is all over the place. The vocals are repetitious and do not mesh with the music. I did like the horns, however.  Grade: C

 

  1. “Christmas Cheer!”- Definitely the hardest Christmas song I have ever heard.  I’m not sure if will evoke much holiday spirit, but it will make you raise your rock fist high.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Kentucky Fried Clay (The Longest Day) – Dabbling with a softer pop-punk style (dare I say emo?) Threat Level Burgundy finishes with the best song on the entire album.  The horn section plays more of a backing role to the otherwise tender vocals.  Nice job guys.  Grade: A-

 

After almost 3 years of reviewing ska albums this was the first album that I felt like I almost needed to write two reviews; one for the instrumentation and another for the vocals.  Threat Level Burgundy’s “The Longest Day” has a lot going for it, from the classic punk guitar stylings to the blaring horn section.  The melodies to each song our distinct from the one before and will be difficult to get out of your head.  A lot here reminds me of up-tempo, brass driven bands that made me fall in love with ska in the first place.  You will find few who can match the musical quality found here.    For me the vocals were a different story.  As a personal preference, I did not care for either of the two vocalists voices.  Second, it seems as if the vocals were written without the instrumentation in mind many times, making some of the songs feels forced and that the vocals and instrumentation did not go together.  If it weren’t  for that fact, I would have given most of these songss and A rating.  With personal preferences aside, this is a pretty solid release which will find a nice home on the ska punk playlist on your iPod. Give these dudes a listen!

 

Overall Grade: B

 

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