Two locals release new music definitely worthy of attention
Bridges to Burn
There’s something romantic about fire…something intriguing and dangerous. It’s freedom in form, sporadic in direction and wild in shape. An element that is synonymous with destruction and warmth.
In Ben Strawn’s debut release, Bridges to Burn, the singer-songwriter makes the connection between fire and love, desire and a blaze, a burning wish for honesty and companionship. In the title track he sings, “I’ve written about fire, ones that start and are ablaze. And how I’m still in a daze that I don’t have you.”
Inspired by Noah Gunderson’s own “Fire,” Strawn lays the metaphors on thick throughout his very impressive first release.
From the opening piano ballad “You and Me” to the closing “Don’t Say Goodbye,” Strawn writes and sings from a very grown-up place; a place of angst and ambition. In these songs, he’s coming from a place where he’s old enough to understand how good love feels and young enough to want more.
In “Firestarter,” the album’s highlight, he sings, “Every song these days is about all the things that a man can do to start a love that never lasts.” He’s after something that a flame can’t put out.
Throughout the EP there are honest—and clear—signs of someone’s first release. They say you have your whole life to write your first one and a year or two to write your second. Strawn seems to have taken advantage of this as he sings about his dreams becoming realities, his love becoming meaningful and life becoming more adventurous.
“I’ve got a dollar and a dream to make reality a thing that isn’t far within my reach,” he sings in “Ablaze.” “I’m even one parent down, I’ve got some things to frown upon but it ain’t stopping me.”
Produced, mixed and mastered by Brett Nolan at Soundry Studio, Chattanooga. Executive produced by Eric Parker.
Knocking on the Floor
Opening up Knocking on the Floor, local act Sour Lemonade’s second full-length album, is a 10-minute alternative-rock burner full of a mixture of drum loops and guitar solos, a combination hard to pull off but done here very well.
The lyrics are simple and reserved: “I ever did you wrong, I never heard your song, you sang it all night long, But I never sang along,” so the musicianship is what pulls you in.
It’s a very intriguing start to an otherwise interesting release from the Chattanooga native, who according to his Bandcamp page, spent a full year writing and recording Knocking on the Floor.
After one full listen, it’s easy to realize that Sour Lemonade is good at being diverse. He can write simple pop songs, like the standout “Take the Day Off,” an ode to Jack Johnson by way of the Commodores.
After a slow, contemplating “What Should I Write Today,” the album takes a very Green Day turn, as the singer is full of angst, anger and contempt in a song about a no-good-family-spoiling stepfather, and in “Real World,” our narrator is fed up with the world he’s stuck in with another fast-paced rocker.
Throughout the album, the lyrics tend to slip into clichés, though the album is ambitiously self-produced—but what I was impressed with most are the different styles Sour Lemonade dips into. Smack dab in the middle of the record is a fiery instrumental called “Good Enough,” which might have the best playing on any song.
The album slows down at the right times and picks back up at surprising ones. It’s bookended by another long tune, this time in a very self-aware song about ending something, whether it is an album, a show or a time in life. “I shouldn’t end our time on a sad song, no performance should leave off that way. And it’s trite, you know, to end a show that way.”