When we last heard from Shawn Bann it was via LA’s Nightmute, a gothic/post-punk act with an unashamedly epic feel. Twenty five years ago they may have been stadium regulars but time has moved on and it appears Bann has too, at least temporarily, judging by the more modern, back to basics approach of his new project, Burn Devils, Burn.
The trio bring feedback, wild guitars and grimy bass to the party, or rather to a sweaty basement club since that’s the kind of atmosphere their music evokes. On ‘Call And Response’, the frontman yells “time is short”, an appropriate statement given the incisive and aggressive way the song is delivered. ‘Blue Lights, Red Siren’ is similarly vital, the strident bass rhythms guiding the song on its way in the manner of early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, complete with psychedelic wig-out at the end. ‘The Take’ is another bass-driven track, guaranteed to get the head nodding along in time but the song has a lot more going on, thanks to the urgent, throaty vocals and a few great riffs for good measure. For ‘Promise True’, the singer seems to have aged by about ten years to take on the role of a veteran rock singer but the band rattle through this fine number regardless with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of conviction.
Bann’s other outfit may have fitted him very well but Burn Devils, Burn could ultimately be better suited to him. The group may opt for a no-frills approach but they are clearly a tightly-drilled unit and the result is a set of songs which are leaner, rawer and even more energised than before.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Six.By Seven