November 30, 2006

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Burden Brothers, Mercy
Kirtland Records, 2006

What begins with disheartening signs of modern Spinal Tappers trying to pass off woebegone “Jumpin Jack Flash” ripoffs as worthiness eventually solidifies into an undeniably strong hard-rock showing. Ex-Toadies singer Vaden Todd Lewis captions the creepy-weepy intro with woozy Thom Yorke non sequiturs leading into the “Jumpin Jack Flash” thing (“Shine”), which sort of zigzags into an emo thing, and the roiling stomach you hear at that juncture is your own. But that — and its followup “Still”— is the only filler crud on the album, so whoever put together the track list simply had a flat head, you know, like Frankenstein,because the balance forward is Jet/Burning Airlines Powerade culminating in the Bic-lighting “Good Night from Chicago.” Know what — ixnay the Jet reference, it’s too classy for that. Not a masterpiece by most measures, but very appealing in a non-bratty way — if Mindless Self Indulgence were Jet, this would be Tool. And if someone told you “She’s Not Home” was White Stripes, you’d probably raise your eyebrows and mutter “Well.” B- — Eric W. Saeger