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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Burden Brothers have Mercy on us

“Mercy” is the second offering from the Burden Brothers, a Texas-based rock band headed by former Toadies front man, Vaden Todd Lewis. Taz Bently, the ex-Reverend Horton Heat and Izzy Stradlin drummer, completes this duo of mid-’90s former alternative rockers who were kind of too old to be rocking out in mascara back then, and are now back and wearing more makeup then ever before.

“Mercy” is a disappointing follow up to the Burden Brothers’ 2004 debut “Buried in Your Black Heart,” which although not great, showed some promise for a band that was still trying to find its identity. However, with two albums now to their credit, the Burden Brothers seem to still be searching for their sound. The album is extremely diverse making it difficult to categorize; it is an amalgamation of post-grunge and alternative rock with a touch of country that fails to truly achieve success in any genre it sets out to imitate.

The band’s name is fitting, as it was a burden to listen to some of the selections on this CD. None of the album’s 15 tracks standout as a runaway hit, and it is this lack of a stellar single that makes the album such a chore to listen to. Lewis’ aging voice is strained at times; such is the case with “Good Night From Chicago” as his vocals land pretty much evenly between a kid from a screaming emo band and that sound your grandfather makes when he tries to get out of his recliner. As the album wears on, the tracks feebly run together without ever managing to get the listener excited.

It’s not that “Mercy” is horrible, it’s just that it seems to be geared toward an older audience that wants to believe they can still “rock” while doing their taxes and power walking to their early bird dinner. The positives of the record are that the artists show some creativity that is sadly lacking in most music today, and although the execution and recording quality are sub-par, the songwriting is actually not bad overall.

Tracks “Shine” and “Still” make an above average back-to-back combo early on, but the album begins its slide into mediocrity after the third track. It never recovers, degenerating into a tiring experience that borders on punishment by the time you reach the closing track “Liberated,” a desperate attempt at an anthem that is about 3 minutes too long for its own good.

The members of the band seem to be hopelessly clutching to a fantasy of remaining rock stars, and we may well be witnessing the last gasping breath taken by these aging guy liner wearing former rockers. Toadies fans that have yet to be disappointed by this release should stay away and avoid the heartbreaking realization that another former hero has become a has-been who simply didn’t know when to call it quits. The golden years are little more than a distant memory for these 40-somethings and the aging process isn’t pretty. Have mercy on yourself and don’t take up this burden.