Fireworks

Dec Burke - 'Paradigms And Storylines' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2012    
 
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Absolutely superb.

For the uninitiated Dec Burke is a former member of the tragically under-rated Darwin's Radio and the most recent incarnation of Frost*. This is his second solo album after 2010's 'Destroy All Monsters' which was an extremely good set of songs but let me tell you that this album blows that one out the water and is absolutely superb. I will get one small critical observation out of the way and it's that most of the songs follow the same format of quiet opening before suddenly going bombastic. This is a minor niggle because the songs are that good you can forgive this trait.

'Days Like These' opens with a great riff from Burke, who also provides the vocals, and some monumental drumming from Mikael Wikman. The chorus is huge and extremely catchy with the symphonic keyboards (Carl Westholm --Carptree / Candlemass) being a delight. The band is rounded out by Stefan Fanden (Jupiter Society) on bass and he lays down some lovely patterns throughout. At times the song structures reminded me of Muse, not overtly and certainly with less annoying vocals, while the guitar solos would not be disowned by John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Burke is one hell of a player.

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I'm not usually a fan of drum loops and industrial sounds but Burke integrates them into his work in a manner that doesn't get my hackles up. Such is the case with 'March of the Androids' the melody to which is simply wonderful as is the chorus. This is a fantastic song with Cia Backman's backing vocals really adding to the quality of the song, as she does across most of the songs. I defy anyone listening to this song not to be humming the chorus after just one listen. The preceding song flows seamlessly into 'A Price for Life' which builds to yet another terrific chorus and there can be no doubt he writes great tunes.

'The River' changes the pace as it starts with a gentle orchestra before a lone drum and acoustic guitar join. Mellotron underpins the voice when it comes and more instruments are layered as power develops. 'Yesterday's Fool' opens with acoustic guitar with drums and keyboards joining later. This is beautiful song with delicious harmonies, a lovely acoustic guitar solo and yet another excellent chorus. A power ballad of this nature should find favour with any reader of Fireworks. 'December Sun' is another building song while the title track that closes affairs is an epic divided into three sections. A slow opening bursts into life and I can't help think of the 'Doctor Who' theme tune. A gripping and powerful five minutes then gives way to a slower section on which the vocal harmonies are glorious, as is the Mellotron and melody. Mention must go to the effort Burke has put into the overall package, for an independent release the artwork is really good.

Yet another album to add to the growing list of terrific releases in 2011.

Gary Marshall

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