“Tell all your friends that this is the end of all these stupid trends,” incants Burnt Ones’ frontman Mark Tester on “Glitter Death”, the droney opener to the San Francisco garage band’s second album, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Trading the vacuous “scene” for something deeper and real, as implied in the album title, seems to be the order of the day for the band. Here, they sound very serious in a din of psych rock (“Web”), and fuzzed out pop (“Freak In The Fog”). They even offer a little T. Rex homage with “Hologram Dropouts” (and keep in mind, this is from a band with a song titled “Gonna Listen To T. Rex” in its discography).
Things brighten up a little on the upbeat boogie “I Care, I Don’t Care” and the truth-in-titling “Getting Brighter Blues”. As a reference point, it all sounds like what Bobby Hecksher’s Warlocks were doing in the Bay Area in last decade. Tester’s vocals seem to be way down in the mix, suggesting introspection and the possibility that the album title is in fact a self-knowledge mantra. Decidedly rocking but thoughtful, You’ll Never Walk Alone is a headphone/head trip garage rock record for sure.
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