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  • Writer's pictureGavin Griffiths

Burnt Out Wreck - Stand and Fight album Review

"The trouble is, that audience is very much of the Planet Rock demographic and its predominantly nostalgia driven rinse and repeat rock ‘n’ roll" - Gav - Riff Yard Media.

If you’ll allow me a moment, I want to talk about Dad-rock...not an official genre per se, but a labelling; a pigeonholing of sounds and artists to sum up an aesthetic, essentially describing its listeners as crusty old fucks from a bygone era. Something to chuckle at in jest, making you think of the origins of hard rock, angrier, faster rock ‘n’ roll; early metal.... we call it classic rock for a reason now, because that shit is so old your dad grew up listening to it. Selling out gigs at the antiques roadshow, y’know? Well...ironically, Father Time has had the last laugh...

The famous NOW album series released their essential “Now That’s What I Call Dad Rock” compilation, and as expected you had the likes of QUEEN, MEAT LOAF and ZZ TOP etc... but hold your horses, it also included the likes of SUM 41...BLINK 182 and NICKELBACK? What in the name of unpaid child support is going on here? I grew up listening to these! I a dad? While I await response from Jeremy Kyle’s legal team, I realise I am in fact, 34 years of age and could very easily be a dad multiple time’s over by now.

This brings us to today’s band; BURNT OUT WRECK. Formed by lead vocalist Gary Moat, who used to play drums for 80’s glam-metal Scot’s HEAVY PETTIN (Scottish and glam-rock are two things I’d never associate with each other I’m not going to lie to you...spandex kilts and ginger mullets for the win), also completed by bassist Alex Carmichael, drummer Paul Grey and guitarists Richard Upsom and Andy McLaughlan, they bridge classic rock with NWOCR to create a fresh, old, new wave of classic modern nostalgic rock sound, (I.e., rock), as they recently dropped album number three; “Stand And Fight”. I say recently, it was released at the end of October 2022, but Riff Yard Media were just forwarded the album by BJF Media PR. Better late than never, eh? Let’s check it out and see what we can salvage from this burnt-out wreck of a band...

The album begins with “Big Up Yourself”, and on face value alone we’re in for, at the very least, a somewhat motivational listen. Instrumentally we’ve got a generally slower paced opener, with some quite plodding, methodical riff work and percussion, with nods to Southern blues rock in its presentation. Vocally however we are hit with that typically raspy, high-end AC/DC style of gruff vocal sound, and Gary is singing of the pursuing of love, opportunities, the dealing with rejection that comes with this, and it’s essentially about self-motivation, self-care and not giving up. Even if no one else will, love yourself, even if you DO sound like AC/DC off Wish.

The title track ties into our album art here, as the references to keyboard warriors and internet trolls fits with the broken, burning stack of laptops, desktops and drives on the cover. I don’t know Gary’s online activities, or if he’s got a dodgy search history, but he seems to come across as a bit of a technophobe. He’s lyrically vague here besides referencing trolls spreading lies, hiding behind keyboards, and literally, he's just solving it all by kicking them in the balls. It’s that simple apparently. Mr President, Edward Snowden hacked a lot of private government information and is leaking worries, just kick him in the balls. Job done. I want to kick this song in the balls quite frankly!

Tracks like “Ain’t Done Nothing Wrong” continue to deliver that blend of slower, deeper, blues-based rock you find in classic guitar bands. This is fine, nothing necessarily unpleasant about this other than at not far off seven minutes, it does drag a little. “More Than Anything” then cranks things up a notch with some more up-tempo, groove-rich swagger-fuelled rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s more akin to something that say, AIRBOURNE would put out, but again, store-brand AC/DC in ways. There are hooks and some solid guitar work here to be enjoyed.

The remainder of this album then sadly falls into the traps of repetition. “Pain And Suffering” is another plodding, lazily chugged rock number with a percussion section that honestly sounds bored...welcome to the pain and suffering? You could have put that as track one as a warning mate not going lie to you. “Blood Sweat And Tears” then continues to describe this listening experience as you give all of that simply getting through this album, purely because of how drawn out it feels. This has been one of the longest hours of my life I swear. It’s like watching the 24/7 feed of Big Brother but it’s 3am and all the housemates are in bed asleep. You can’t go to the toilet in case you miss one of them getting up to go to the toilet, riveting stuff.

We do eventually finish up on “I’m A Loser Too” and what a complete switch around. We’re treated to a more, STATUS QUO type of guitar approach as there’s more of a bounce to the track here, and the sudden urge to grab a hammer and run riot in my local Argos is unreal. Whatever you want and all that. Lyrically Gary has gone from bigging himself up in track one, to calling himself a loser in track eleven. His own album broke him, and he has only himself to blame.

As I said previously, instrumentally there’s nothing to aggressively criticise here, as they play well collectively, and it’s a tried and trusted sound that you can’t REALLY do wrong with. They’ve had some solid live reviews, and they have an audience. The trouble is, that audience is very much of the Planet Rock demographic and its predominantly nostalgia driven rinse and repeat rock ‘n’ roll. I mentioned AC/DC and there is a LOT of that sound in this album, but if you insist on being bored and disappointed by an AC/DC album, go and listen to one of the many copy and paste records they have released over their own career. Forget AC/DC, this is more a question of where they fit in regarding B.C. / A.D., as this is just old and done to death by this point. Not knocking your taste personally, you do you, but this is not for me. Burnt Out Wreck are like, the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of that Titan submersible...the interest was there but, it doesn’t end well, as you eventually implode with boredom, and it’s just as well I didn’t pay £250,000 for this album, isn’t it?

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