Alburn – Alburn

Scottish rockers Alburn’s debut album comes out this Friday, and I’ve been lucky enough to live with it the past few months.

I loved their Mouthful of Glass EP which was released in 2014 (review here), so was excited when a review copy landed on Scramble Tower’s doormat. Opening track ‘Make You Mine’ is everything I love about Alburn, fast-paced, great distortion guitar, throaty vocals, and a chorus you can get behind. ‘Send Me Up’ follows and is another slice of brilliantly rough rock, with a superb lick, some beautiful crunchy bass sound, and even more tuneful vocal.

For the most part the album follows the same formula, whilst not being formulaic. The result is a collection of songs you can leave on repeat and enjoy listening to again and again. Unfortunately though it’s not all roses when we get to tracks like ‘Catharsis’ and ‘Lost; Faraway’. The two songs are more balls out rockers than the others, and I do love a bit of heavy, however here the throaty vocals give way to too much scream and loses all melody in the process; leading to me lose interest. In fact worse, I pretty much hated the tracks when I first heard them.

Granted, the latter is better than the former, and over time I’ve taken to accepting them, but negative thoughts always occur when I get to that point in the album. I’m all for changing it up a bit, but for me if these two were the first songs I’d ever heard by Alburn the rest of the album would be the songs I never heard.

Thankfully with ‘Through Salt & Water’ (and everything which follows actually) normality resumes, in fact it turns it up a notch with what is probably my favourite track of the album. The brooding verse gives way to a chorus and guitar refrain which I find myself returning to more than anything else on the album.

All in this is a great debut album by a band I’ve waited a long time to hear more from. It does not disappoint – even with it’s flaws – and I hope to get the chance to hear it live. Perhaps in that setting even those songs I dislike may take on a different persona.

Gareth Fraser
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