Los Angeles, August 2001
Last Burning Embers
(Reg Dunlop Recordings)
By Lindsay Mancha
Here’s my opinion, point-blank: This is one
very good post-rock, punk influenced furnace of fervor and intelligence.
Bassist Tom Burke and drummer Jack Rabid provide a steady backbone while
the Swervedriver guitars burn and guitarist/singer Dave Burokas’ lyrics
provoke thought. And the words to
LBE songs are concerned with this guy called Everyman.
You won’t be left scratching your head, as
the band wants you to understand what they are talking about (ha, how’s that
for a concept!) They want you to
realize that in this apathetic world, there are still bands that empathize.
Burokas, Burke and Rabid see music as a message-voyeur.
The runaway desperation of “Distress Call” will ring true with anyone
who’s dealt with personal crisis. The
song is a commentary on the nature of emotional and mental paralysis, you know,
that feeling when everything’s racing while you stand still?
It’s the calamity of finding that you are going nowhere or going down.
“Comfort in Misery” is first-hand observation of a mother and father
disengaged with and by life. “Self-pity
is selfish,” Burokas sings, choosing to move away from the parents’
weaknesses and take the offense: “I
just want to destroy your comfort in misery.”
Distress Call ends with the
band having the upper hand, with the contentious “Café Radical.”
Here, Burokas has one-upped you- he’s not impressed by the formulaic,
your self-materialization. Time you
re-evaluate your motives, your priorities.
EPs function as samplers, there’s usually not enough to delve into on a three,
four song disc, but Distress Call has
got the goods, a recording I will pay attention to when playing often.
LBE say more in three songs than most bands do by the time they’ve
released their third album. This is
definitely recommended listening. After
hearing this EP, there’s the good chance you will look forward to LBE’s next
musical venture, which very well may be a debut album.
I, for one, eagerly wait.
PAPER MAGAZINE, San Rafael, CA, October, 2001
Los Angeles, December, 2001
SUBURBAN VOICE, Lynn,
MA, May 2002
EMBERS-Distress Call (Reg Dunlop Recordings)
naming your label after the lead character in "Slap
Shot" is fucking cool, in my book. And this three piece from NYC, with Big
Takeover honcho Jack Rabid on drums, have their merits, as well. If Rabid's
involved, chances are the sound is going to lean towards something British
and be tuneful and that's the case here. Melodic, but not wispy as the three
songs here exude a lively sound. Guitar lines sounding like a hybrid of the
Buzzcocks and Chameleons, while not being slavishly derivative of either.
Pop music with substance.
TONE CLUSTERS MAGAZINE, New
York, NY, December, 2001
BURNING EMBERS – Distress Call (Reg Dunlop Records, USA --CD EP)
Last burning embers of what? Listen
and you’ll know right off, mon. There
wuz a sub-category of postpunk for a while which was in the ‘80s and early
‘90s typified by Sonic Youth (the Lee Ranaldo tunes, mostly), St. Johnny and Swervedriver (a
fine tuneful Brit outfit which I does believe are still with us) : basically it
wuz tuneful punk rock (but not poppy like, say, Kitchens of Distinction or
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin) with great cloudy fuzz guitars, reticent
bass (not wandering about the ruinz
like, say, the JDs’ Peter Hook, ya know) and “uh, I
think I’m in over my head” vocals. But of course it’z way too late 2 do
anything about it, huh huh, Beavis. It's 2001 and nobody can play a guitar any more and
rock’n’roll is finally dead (again) and all the bad stuff what Bailter Space
said was gonna happen has. It’s a
ROBOT WORLD with neutron decay
an’ all duh love’s taken away. (From
the album of the same name. Neh heh).
What better reason then 2 do whut these guyz (the splatter-happy Jack
Rabid on the tubs, Dave Burokas playing guitar an’ singin’, Tom Burke in tha
bass chair) did an’ strap on the instruments an’ kick the jamz out. Right?
I mean, that’s what rock’n’roll used to be FOR before we got all
esoteric an’ Pink Floyd started doin’ 23-minute songs an’ we pretended
Arto Lindsay knew how to play long before he actually could an’ it was all a
joke because it was. And while
we’re at it, revive the postpunk school as if it hadn’t never
And for 3 songs here, it suddenly never has.
Yeah, we only got about 13 minutes of music here but if you ever liked
the raw nasty stuff wit’ a soupcon of hooks, dig in and it’s 1991 again
an’ Swervedriver’s MEZCAL HEAD has just come out an’ Lawdy Mama is it
gooooood… like tha hot coffee in “Café Radical” (“Semiotics over
caffeine…” quips Burokas with a slight Midlands accent.
Forgivable; hey, the Beatles sang like they was American.
We is just STILL
the favor). Been playin’ this on the office stereo again an’ again
an’ our lovely Managing Editor is making nasty cracks about testosterone
poisoning. Learned that concept from our equally lovely Staff Psychoanalyst, no
doubt. Well, I already is had that since puberty.
Oops, wait, she don’t mean me. All
right, Mother, I’ll put da headphones on. Cheez whiz, it’s like growin’ up in Bensonhurst all ovuh
again. Hold my calls.
Somebody! But not
“Distress Call,” which has a nice starburst riff, the guitar sustaining and
enveloping over many bars while Rabid (publisher of THE BIG TAKEOVER Magazine, a
fine bi-yearly screed concernin’ tha latest generation of Troo Believerz and
Deconstructionists) detonates maniacally as might Bailter’s drummer Brent
McLachlan. Great smashies and drum
rolls… I thought Rabid played guitar. Not
this time, an’ it don’t sound like he misses it.
Neato lyrics, too (rhymin’ ‘vacuous mass’ with ‘this too will
pass’ tho’ you can tell he
don’t believe a word of it; an’ here’s a bitsy more: “Distress call/ My
downfall/ All my expectations wrecked beyond repair…” Of course we is now in our early 50s or late 40s and now they
really are. Adds a certain
POIGNANCE to it all, somehow, doncha know.
Now we ain’t fakin’! ) , delivered in a half-snarl reminiscent of
that guy who sings on MEZCAL HEAD, I can’t remember his name .
It has been too long an’ I have reviewed too many Eric Dolphy albums!
There isn’t no way back! No,
actually there is. Put this on
again. Stop givin’ me those nasty looks, Taliya.
That’s our lovely Managing Editor.
Anaways, given we are now a lot older an’ all the song lyrics in every
tune Mark Burgess ever wrote are now come true, there is a certain, noops I
mentioned POIGNANCE already. Well
it’s the sense of resignation become flesh, I means, like when St. Johnny
moans “I Give Up” or Ride sneers, “Leave Them All Behind” as if they
knew you never really had ‘em to leave, they did that when they was in their
20s. And 20s-ish is still a kid.
They didn’t know yet that they knew what they were talkin’ about so
they did it with a distance. Now
Last Burning Embers knows they was all right after all, so they is doin’ it
for the hell of it an’ no more, no less.
Sounds that way too. Great!
The middle tune, “Comfort in Misery,” is a great midtempo roller,
Burokas muttering, “Sometimes I can’t comprehend… how it all went
wrong…” Hey, that’s OK, Dave,
I can dig it. But he goes on,
“Time will not wait for your choice, the chance is right now/ I just want to
destroy your comfort in misery.” Which
is what great R’n’R is, and simultaneously is not, all about.
Not unserprizinglee, Last
Burning Embers realize this and make you like this ‘afterburner nihilism’
just 1 last time.–C.B.
ISSUE #16, June, 2001
Last Burning Embers
Distress Call EP
This relatively new power trio who consist of Dave
Burokas (guitar/vocals), Tom Burke (bass), and Jack
Rabid (drums) has already played support slots with
The Buzzcocks, and Alternative TV in their hometown
of New York City. Hopefully their success will rub off
on a wider scale based on the strength of this hard hit-
ting three-song debut EP. Exploring similar sonic ter-
rain to groups like Husker Du and early Swervedriver,
Last Burning Embers create an impressive wall of sound,
especially on the ripping title track. Keep an eye (and
ear) out for these guys.