lunes, septiembre 26, 2022

American Aquarium’s «Burn. Flicker. Die.» Ten Years Later

When future generations look again on this essential period for impartial nation, Southern rock, and Americana, they’ll marvel how artists calling their very own pictures lastly emerged from the shadows of Music Row, and be amazed on the inventive output that chance in the end allowed. As time goes on, sure artists and albums on the margins are likely to fade away, whereas the stuff that withstands the take a look at of time continues to come back much more clearer into focus, and commemorated for its worth and influence.

A small handful of albums will finest outline these moments: Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Nation Music, Jason Isbell’s Southeastern, Purgatory by Tyler Childers, The Adobe Periods by Cody Jinks, Diamonds & Gasoline by the Turnpike Troubadours, and some others. No offense to their more moderen output, or their earlier stuff, however on the subject of American Aquarium, their most lasting contribution to this period—not less than from the attitude of this explicit second in time—will probably be their 2012 album Burn. Flicker. Die., launched ten years in the past at this time.

That is an uncommon retrospective to compose, as a result of Burn. Flicker. Die. is without doubt one of the few albums the place Saving Nation Music was round and reviewed the album when it was initially launched. However like all albums worthy of retrospective recognition, its significance has grown over time. The truth that Jason Isbell produced the album when he was nonetheless a relative unknown and scrapping for consideration himself makes it exceptional, as is how the album continues to seed a lot of what you hear whenever you go see American Aquarium stay at this time.

The tune “Lonely Ain’t Simple” from Burn. Flicker. Die. nonetheless could also be American Aquarium’s most stirring ballad. “Saint Mary’s” stays one in all their greatest anthems… “the place American ladies drink Mexican beer, and metropolis boys sing small city hymns!” However most significantly, it’s songs just like the title observe of the album and “Casualties” which have actually gone on to outline what we consider once we consider American Aquarium.

The theme of Burn. Flicker. Die. and the circumstances surrounding its writing are spelled out proper there in these songs. After trekking out from North Carolina with goals of “making it,” by 2012, frontman BJ Barham and American Aquarium had been nonetheless barely scraping by, touring round in previous church vans, enjoying to half empty barrooms with not a lot hope for ever discovering a option to make it a sustainable dwelling.

So unwilling to promote out, and unable to earn a major viewers beneath their present route whereas adhering to their founding ideas, they selected to wholly unburden their failures and frustrations upon the viewers in a full exhalation: their damaged goals, their failed relationships, the disappointments of their households, their addictions and proclivities. And the outcomes had been an audio model of excessive artwork, nevertheless growling it was delivered, or seedy the subject material was. And satirically—and regardless of the title of the album—it was the spark that lit the hearth that’s nonetheless burning behind the eyes of this band at this time.

At their final attainable breaking level earlier than absolute annihilation and the resignation to go get common jobs, BJ Barham and American Aquarium pushed all their chips to the middle of the desk, wager exhausting in a final dying gasp, and gained. It’s the mixture of propulsive, self-aware, and introspective songwriting with closely punctuated virtually punk-like supply that makes American Aquarium such an inebriating and compelling expertise. Since 2012 and Burn. Flicker. Die., personnel on this band has modified over 100% behind BJ Barham, and in some positions, 3 or 4 occasions over. However at this time, the songs are arguably delivered with much more punch, and are as searingly related as they had been 10 years in the past to the viewers, if not much more.

American Aquarium is the place you flip when the shit will get so thick, you query should you’ll make it out of the opposite facet alive. That’s what American Aquarium had been doing themselves on Burn. Flicker. Die., presumably illustrated finest by the album’s epic center observe, the 6-minute “Jacksonville.”

The band’s subsequent albums are all worthy of your ear as properly, together with 2022’s Chicamacomico, even when the method is extra sedate, and the themes extra mature. As time has gone on, American Aquarium has additionally turned barely extra nation than they had been on this principally rock ‘n roll state in 2012. However for a lot of, Burn. Flicker. Die. is the place all of it started, as a result of at wit’s finish, they laid all of it out on the desk, and lo and behold, it was that vulnerability and honesty that the world was hungry for.

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Personnel: BJ Barham – Vocals, Piano, Organ, Guitar // Bass – Invoice Corbin // Drums – Kevin McClain // Jimmy Nutt – Lead Guitar // Chris Stamey – Organ // Wes Lachot – Pedal Metal Guitar // Whit Wright – Piano, Electrical Piano // Spooner Oldham – Piano, Organ // Further – Jason Isbell – Vocals // Amanda Shires, Caitlin Cary – Vocals, Violin

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