It’s always a risky venture whenever a punk band releases an album that tries to take its music in a different direction. The history of punk music is littered with bands that tried to mature their sound, only to end up putting out an album of watered down music. The Hudson Falcons have bucked this trend on their latest release, “Desire to Burn.”
“Desire” traverses the musical landscape, cutting a delicate balance between down-home rock n’ roll and old school melodic hardcore punk. For the most part, the balance works well. The combination of blue-collar New Jersey punk music with the Springsteen-esque rock music seems unforced and at times completely natural.
The most impressive thing about the album is that the band keeps things original on each song. Unlike many predecessors in the genre, the songs rarely blend together, with each one having its own distinct melodic rhythm and vocal harmony.
Ironically, the highpoint of the album is a song not even written by the Falcons, but a bluesy cover of the 1954 Howlin’ Wolf song “Evil.” The song shows just how versatile the Falcons are as they completely drop any resonance of punk music and play full-blown blues rock. Lead singer Mark Linskey’s gravelly voice lends a new energy to the old classic and the liveliness of the drums and bass creates a danceable tempo.
Another high point on the CD is the song “Lonely Girl,” an additional bluesy track and one that nicely compliments “Evil.” The song features well-crafted lyrics that, unlike most punk songs, will get stuck in your head long after you listen to them. The catchy lyrics along with the infectious guitar work make this a song you will be humming and singing for days.
The only low point of the album is when the band falls into tiresome punk clichés on songs such as “Drinkin’ with the Band” and “We’ll Survive.” On these two songs, the Falcons resort to their previous sound, favoring deafening guitars and lightning fast punk bass riffs, which seem out of place given the complexity of the music in the rest of the album. However, except for these two slight misses there isn’t much to dislike about the CD.
This CD would be a welcome, but obscure, addition to any punk fan’s collection, but could be equally enjoyed by someone who isn’t a huge fan of the genre and just wants to kickback and listen to some rock n’ roll.
Editors note: The Hudson Falcons will be playing Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marquette Commons on South Third Street with opening bands 5 Finger Discount and Poor Man’s Coke.