For the past few years, Australia has been a hotbed for great, new musical acts. Out of all of the countries I receive submissions from, the highest quality to crap ratio comes from down under. Even Australian bands that are bad aren't really bad, they're just average. Maybe they're isolated from all the trends running rampant through Europe and the U.S. Maybe I only see what labels deem as good since they have to mail it across the sea (yes, Australia labels still mail discs a lot of the time instead of providing digital promos). Or maybe they're just the IT country for rock music right now. Frankly, I don't care what it is, I just can't wait to give every new Australian band I get a listen. This review was originally published on September 24, 2009.
For a while I was really hoping for a new, modern wave of melodic punk in the vein of Pennywise and Strung Out to take over as the popular "scene" genre. As we saw the meteoric rise of A Wilhelm Scream, a band that had more than just a little bit of an influence from the aforementioned two bands, I thought they'd lead the tidal wave of new, similar bands. However, there weren’t really any other bands that stepped up their game like A Wilhelm Scream did. Instead we had some of the original pioneers come back to give us new albums which, let's be honest, didn't really take hold with the younger crowd. Recent efforts from Propahandhi and Pennywise just didn’t have the same magic that previous albums did. It seemed like there would be no next wave… until you look outside the borders of the United States.
Australia, in recent years, has been a nice little hotbed for punk and hardcore, as well as many other genres of music. Perhaps being on an isolated continent has kept them insulated from the overflow of horrible trends that are overtaking the US and European musical landscapes. Burning Fiction, hailing from the land down under, have not only created an album that pays homage to their influences, but have had a chance to venture out of their home country to play with the likes of Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream, Lagwagon, and No Use for a Name. Don’t Lose Touch contains pieces of all of these bands, as well as some early era AFI thrown in for good measure.
The previous sentence easily sums up this release, and the vast majority of melodic punk fans now know exactly what to expect. This is both, unfortunately, a blessing and a curse. You know exactly what to expect, yet you may experience something of a mild letdown since this is ground which has already been well tread upon. Looking beyond this fact, though, Burning Fiction are a solid band and the collection of songs on Don’t Lose Touch will be enough to hold the attention of a listener for the half hour run time of the album, if for no other reason than to hear the traces of Davey Havok’s vocal approach in a few of the songs and to listen to the promise that the band exudes every minute of this album.
Burning Fiction seem to love what they are doing and that will, in the end, provide them with a much longer and fulfilling career than any number of myspace friends or appearances in scene ‘zines ever will. They aren’t afraid to let their influences show, they play hard and fast, and they will give you enough moments to sing along to. Really, what more can you ask for?