Burning Sister are a Denver, Colorado trio comprised of Steve Miller (bass/synth/vocals), Nathan Rorabaugh (guitar) and Alison Salutz (drums). Get Your Head Right, their latest release, marks something of a change in the shape of the aforementioned Nathan Rorabaugh (of Alamo Black) replacing Drake Brownfield on what is the band’s follow-up to last year’s full-length debut Mile High Downer Rock. That album was described by Shaman colleague Tom Hanno as delivering ‘everything that defines their chosen genre’ and ‘a band that has a lot to offer the listener’.
I’d personally been aware of the band for quite a while having followed them from the time of their first release, the 2020 Self-Titled EP, so I’d been looking forward to getting the opportunity to cover them, which has now of course happened. Social Media, for all its annoyances, chief of which being an ideal spot for narcissists and attention seekers, can be useful when it comes to exposing one to new music, an example of which has been proven here.
Fadeout definitely has a heavy psych influence reminiscent of bands such as Spacemen 3, which isn’t too surprising seeing as one of the band’s Instagram photos has Steve wearing one of their T-shirts. Not so much wearing their influences on their sleeve but proudly on their torso. There are some cool Zeppelin grooves and Tad style sludge also to be had that help keep the track grounded. A pretty damn cool opener.
Barbiturate Lizard is a good deal bluesier with some nice Pink Floyd and Eloy style prog atmospherics peppered in along the way. The track also reminds you of bands such as Mondo Drag and Samsara Blues Experiment, so it was always going to be up my street that starts off as a slow burner before getting progressively heavier and more intense, what’s not to like??
The riffs are catchy and the fuzz cranked up to 11…
Get Your Head Right rocks like early Nebula from around the time of To The Centre and the track Antigone particularly comes to mind, there is a smidgen of Powertrip era Monster Magnet with its glammy theatrical camp present too. The riffs are catchy and the fuzz cranked up to 11 with no outlandish prog/experimental excursions seen for miles, instead making for awesomely solid no frills stoner rock. A personal favourite track of mine from the EP.
Looking Through Me is the record’s longest number at nearly eight minutes and it initially follows a similar formula to its predecessor what with its stomping stoner-ish acid rock before taking you on a rather wonderful sonic jam straight to the universe in a manner that reminded me of Acid King on their excellent recent album Beyond Vision.
When Tomorrow Hits is a cover of the Mudhoney classic which coincidentally was also covered by Spacemen 3 (Mudhoney returned the favour and did a version of the Spacemen 3’s Revolution). The original was a lysergic blues drawl with a Stooge-esque vibe which Burning Sister brilliantly manage to capture thus providing what is an ideal conclusion to the record.
Burning Sister may not be reinventing the wheel musically speaking, but when it comes to forging meaty riffs and playing with a hell of a lot of heart, the band manages to excel. Is it a sound that veteran listeners of the genre will be more than familiar? Absolutely, there’s nothing especially surprising to be found here, but when it’s this good, who cares? This is a great little release that will satisfy fans before their sophomore album eventually lands.
Scribed by: Reza Mills