Bury Me In Lights – Moments Between – EP Review
If there’s one thing that this band out of Chicago made me instantly realize, it’s that there sure has been a shortage of punk out there in the scene lately. I don’t know if it’s been hiding, maybe we’re not the place for the genre…which would be strange, given that we support music of all possible styles. I only grew up on bands like NOFX, Propagandhi, Bad Religion, No Means No, Pennywise…I mean, what do I know about the punk genre anyhow? Well…I suppose I know enough to know its classic sarcastic attitude…or at least have that in common with the roots of the genre, which of course go back even further than the list of bands I just referenced. Right around when I started listening, was right around where the hardcore edge and chip on the shoulder of punk-music began to finally chill-out a little; and instead of all-out chaos and reckless abandon, all of a sudden, melody and controlled-chaos became the dominant style & sound of the music. Same levels of energy and power, just refocused in a new direction…one that eventually saw incredible new levels of success and acceptance in the mainstream by having hooks that were undeniably more polished and tighter musicianship that still inspired those rebellious emotions and powerful feelings of wanting to rage against the machine & the suits’n’ties. The SPIRIT of punk music and its energy has ALWAYS been its essence and most defining assets…sure the old guys out there will tell you that punk has been dead for years – but the reality is that it lives on in bands like Bury Me In Lights who have taken the torch and sparked that next blaze of the genre’s future. It evolved, it refined, it left behind the mixed-in-your-friend’s-basement atmosphere and found a way to reconcile a more quality studio sound without selling-out what’s important about the music of punk. And so here we are, with the Moments Between EP, which certainly bridges that gap between punk and many of its surrounding genres, unafraid to courageous adapt their sound to what’s relevant right now.
So call it power-rock, pop-punk, hardcoremo, alternapop – whatever you label you want to slap onto them – I think we can all at least agree, this is all hella-listenable right? Moments Between has a ton to offer the ears and an explosive mix of melody in the music that immediately surges to full-speed on the opening cut “All My Life.” Drummer Tim Vallaro sounds determined to pound right through the floor with the furious raining of beats ripping through this first cut, adding in the tight grinding of guitars from Randy Gorecki and Robert Biskoski, the latter whom also supplies the intensity & melody on the mic as the lead vocalist in Bury Me In Lights. Complete with the low-end addition of Chris Vallaro on the bass – could just be me, but I think I spot something in the names of the drummer and bassist that would potentially lead to the reasons the rhythm section of this band continually stays locked in-step at every twist & turn, transitioning flawlessly as they explode in one direction or the other throughout Moments Between. They definitely ain’t messing around though, you can hear just how much passion exists in the music of Bury Me In Lights on “All My Life” in the massive burst of energy that fuels the verse and the sincerity that swirls through the emotions that fill the chorus. Loved that downscale progression in the notes that send it to the end as well…it’s tightly written stuff and brilliantly executed – like, LISTEN to the intensity of the musicianship in the instrumental break & solos! Burning HOT – Bury Me In Lights come out glowing and scorching through every second of this short but fiery opening tune of their EP.
“Beautiful” is both a great song and an important one to this record overall. For those that are just jumping onto the Bury Me In Lights bandwagon like I am now, this second track reveals a whole different dimension of the band’s sound & style, introducing stronger pop/rock tendencies and even in a mid-tempo tune, arguably a more accessible sound. What I loved about “Beautiful” is that you can absolutely hear this four-piece bringing it just as intensely to this song as they did in their opening tune – totally different styles but clearly just as focused and dedicated when it came time to record. That’s how you can tell it’s part of the sincere style of the band and not just a one-off tune for Bury Me In Lights…it’s that audible passion and top-notch execution that tells your ears they’ve put the work in and that this refined gem they’ve got in “Beautiful” is the result of all players being on the same page from concept to realization. The build of this second tune works really well on a structural level, satisfyingly hitting the mark for that tension in the sound growing through the verse before it breaks open gorgeously in the chorus. Ha! How do you like THAT people? I just called a punk band gorgeous. No disrespect intended, nor am I seeking to harm their street cred – if anything, the complete opposite. I genuinely think it’s way better for a band to have a versatile sound and be able to confidently flex that creative muscle in the music as much as possible than for it not to exist or be expressed somehow. For the ripping power-punk opening of the record, they certainly dip into a more sincere & softer side of their music & sound on “Beautiful” – but I think this all came out extremely well, adds to their list of capabilities, and overall it’s a really well executed cut that highlights how effectively Bury Me In Lights are able to shift their style around without losing us as listeners. And they’re about to do it again in the next cut, as they amp-up the energy and crank up the heat for “Not Calling.”
If we’re talking about hooks…I’d certainly suggest that the ones you’ll hear on “Not Calling” are the strongest you’ll find on what’s an impressive record with five strong tunes – there’s real magic in the chorus of this cut that has majorly addictive qualities in its energy that’ll people will dig on universally. Robert is CRUSHING the vocals on “Not Calling” – the band is killin’ it right alongside him, make no mistake, but this particular cut really shines a light on what this guy brings to the table as a front-man with the electrifying performance he puts into the mic on this one. The verse rocks, the chorus kicks ALL the ass, the final run-throughs are even more monumental with the backing-vocals in the mix…they stick to the main ingredients of what makes great songwriting and really connect with that energy in the music in a way that translates straight over the speakers to us as listeners. This band does their own style of fusion-rock really well – “Not Calling” is yet another incredible example of just how much Bury Me In Lights can STUFF into one experience – and MAN does this mother hit the mark! All the punch in the emphasis of the music in the drums & cymbals crashing perfectly gives the vocals the ability to find that similar intensity and they pretty much scorch the earth blazing through the melody that burns through the chorus of “Not Calling.” It’s like All-American Rejects, but with balls. So like…Ball-American Rejects? These guys in Bury Me In Lights are punk enough to think that’s funny as I do I’m sure. Point being – the melody and energy are through the roof of “Not Calling” and the wild performance that they’ve captured on this recording should be strong enough to make any set of ears pay close attention.
“The Devil You Know” is another solid hybrid of sound, highlight the versatile nature of this band even further on one of their most ambitious tunes on the Moments Between EP. Robert continues to raise the stakes by pulling off one of the most challenging parts he’s written for himself with the brilliant execution he brings to the chorus in the most powerful moments on “The Devil You Know.” A real highlight for Chris on the bass as well…he’s got some wicked lines running through the layers of “The Devil You Know” – sometimes it’s easy for listeners to forget just how crucial guys like this are to a band’s sound when the flash of the guitars, thunderous drums, and raging vocals are all firmly in the spotlight…so let’s be clear, this guy’s the glue holding this band together firmly in the rhythm. On “The Devil You Know” he gets to branch out a bit further and flex a bit more of that skill he’s got in ways we can hear it…he’ll always have to fight for the attention a bit more in the mix of this band, but whenever you do pay specific attention to what he’s up to, it’s continually impressive. As for the vocals, Robert brings out the fuckin’ BEAST at the end of this tune as they rip towards the end of the record…sounding all-out gnarly, he lights-up the mic as the band takes “The Devil You Know” straight into the fires of hell by the end. Almost sounds like they’re going to head into something like System Of A Down for a moment at the very beginning of this tune before they switch into a serious punk-vibe and open-up a real vein of meaty rock that never lets up. A bit more involved on both the demands of the emotions and listening – “The Devil You Know” is a weighty tune that has incredible power in its attitude – it might take a few spins for this tune to fully sink in, but there’s a damn good chance it could just as easily be the favorite of the record for many people out there. But they truly all could be – Moments Between is a solid EP without a doubt…solid BAND – I think Bury Me In Lights are really onto something that works.
Wrapping up the experience with “Darkest Skies,” Bury Me In Lights keep the music tight from corner to corner of this record and end the EP on strong energy with their final cut. If I had to choose one particular track to represent this entire effort and this band overall, there’s a good chance I’d choose “Darkest Skies.” Reason being, I think it shines a real light on just how many facets of this band’s sound are in play throughout this record as they flex different aspects from pop, punk, rock, alternative, emo, even metal at times in this melting pot at the end of their EP – and it shows just how brilliantly they can weave these styles together into one sound tapestry. To be fair to the four tracks that come before this finale, “Darkest Skies” does have at least an additional minute for the band to move around in and they certainly make the most of the extra space with fantastic musicianship, structure, and melody leading the charge to the final moments of this set of five from Bury Me In Lights. Strong solo, excellent breakdown, fantastic bring-back…”Darkest Skies” ends up being quite the journey from beginning to end, but one quite worth the taking. From musicianship to writing, execution to production – this band has audibly got all aces up their sleeves and a diverse, powerful, and passionate style that sincerely connects. They’re coming up to a decade’s worth of existence next year in 2019 and it’s clear that time has been well spent here in Bury Me In Lights – they’re completely dialed into their sound and no matter what direction they take it in, they come out winning all over every song on the Moments Between EP.
Find out more about Bury Me In Lights from their official homepage at: http://www.burymeinlights.com/
Find music from Moments Between at Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2XRbdXby5QziX3N38eVwYX?si=hj6Ws_mfTgCWwnAjbXVqdw
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