The enigmatic, diabolical new Blood Brothers album introduces itself with the overbearing thunderscreams of “Guitarmy” -- inquiring with a fury unknown: “Do you remember us?” Well, whether you remember them or not, it’s certain you’ll never forget Seattle’s Blood Brothers after your first spin of Burn Piano Island, Burn [ArtistDirect].
The 37-second spasm of an opener is an extraordinary climax… but wait, it’s only the first song. SHIT! Their intangible concoction of ferocious-yet-feminine torment is expelled through every song, be it “Fuckings Greatest Hits” or the wet-dream turned nightmare “1-900-USA”, stirring up a beautiful migraine you’d never take aspirin to cure.
Borrowing snippets of sound from old-school hardcore bands, their buddies The Locust, and even sometimes sounding like a retarded Stevie Wonder, The Blood Brothers accomplish the impossible here. They distribute hyper-avant hardcore punk in a somewhat accesible mold that the mainstream can sorta stomach hopefully.
Thing is, lots of bands these days scream their faces off with no content, premise or ballsack behind it. Here, vocalists/throatscrapers Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney coalesce their two demons into harmonic devastation, as Blilie’s squealy cries lay atop a slinky needle-bed of guitarwork that the members of Agnostic Front are surely applauding. With sound that stomps your nose through the base of your neck, darkly poetic lyrics haunt and reverberate with a frightening tamber in your brain, causing thoughts of suicide one minute and throwing a bash with all your buddies the next.
Blilie’s caterwauling epiphanies in the title track slice you open, then delicately stitch your mangled ass back up with the precision of a blind, handless surgeon. Is there a better opening line to a song than “Bulimic rainbows vomit what?” The correct answer is: no, Mike -- there isn’t.
The plight continues during the title track with Blilie expelling his innermost demons in the most powerful verse of the album, telling the listener “I split my grandmother like a rotten papaya/our fright to pollenate the flowers of fire”, ending in a cacophonous freak-out that may kill the weak-hearted, stabbing you with the words “I packaged my heart and FedEx’d it to the octopus queen!”
The agony continues with their first single, “Ambulance vs. Ambulance”, as you’re taken on a journey of corporate burden weighing on a family, as one passenger is asked “You’ll never see your wife and children/so tell us what it was going through your head/when you looked into their eyes and said/’No thanks, I’ll take the hooker instead.” The story indulges further, getting incredibly poetic with “His head was a faucet leaking love, laughter and lies/all his secret wishes, all his world famous sighs.”
Ridiculous and pompous at times… maybe. But the method of delivery and integrity that the Blood Brothers deliver provide all the necessary credibility needed to pull off such lines.
Consider this: Burn Piano Island, Burn is a Dr. Seuss tale ghostwritten by Hunter S. Thompson -- narrated by today’s special guest, Satan.
Darker than a 3-month-old banana, the album as a whole really is quite a task to listen to. After six or seven songs, you begin to wonder just how these guys can perform like this when you can hardly bear to keep your headphones on for the same amount of time. Take it in stride, and listen to it in clumps. You’ll be heavily rewarded. Or you’ll have an inextinguishable headache.