Summerlin - You Can't Burn Out If You're Not On Fire Album Review

There was little to drag me into the album, and as a huge pop-punk fan it was one I really wanted to love, but I simply couldn’t.

rating: 2.5

WebsiteFacebook Released: 14th May Leeds probably isn€™t the first place you€™d picture when listening to an upbeat pop-punk album, but it's the home of Summerlin who have just released their debut album, You Can€™t Burn Out If You€™re Not On Fire. With influences including the obvious pop-punk kings of Blink 182 and The Offspring as well as more modern bands such as Four Year Strong, it doesn€™t really take a rocket scientist to work out what the overall sound of the album is, with the Yorkshire boys employing a highly Americanised musical style. Opening with Let It Go, its summery bouncy riffs and big vocal harmonies are fairly standard pop-punk, a trend which continues for a lot of the album. As far as an opening track goes though, there is nothing bad to be said about it, with an instantly catchy chorus that you will be humming to yourself on the second listen. The problem is, the chorus sounds like it could fit in any of the next five or six songs, there really is an issue with variety on the album. Far too many of the songs blend into one another if you€™re not paying full attention, something which is especially a problem during the first half of the album. Also a lot of the instrumental breakdowns and riffs sound a little too familiar to the aforementioned influences, making a large portion of this album simply okay. Not great, but not bad either, just okay. There was little to drag me into the album, and as a huge pop-punk fan it was one I really wanted to love, but I simply couldn€™t. With this in mind, the album€™s best moments are when the band break from the formula and throw in something different, as is the case with the clear standout track of United Divided where the band downtune the guitars, and lead singer Adam Lawson takes on a far grittier vocal tone. It still suffers from the problem of sounding too similar to their peers, as I think the reason I like it so much is because it sounds like it would have fit perfectly on the last Four Year Strong album, but if I had to take one single track from the album as a highlight it would definitely be this. It retains a good level of heaviness to differ itself from the rest of the album but also keeps the big soaring choruses that are a trademark of pop-punk to create what is overall a really strong track. The other best moments of the album occur at the end of it, with the final two songs Easy On The Eyes and the title track. The former is the album€™s slowest track, but again, it serves as something different, and contains the heartfelt lyrics that pop-punk is so often known for. You Can€™t Burn Out If You€™re Not On Fire should have definitely opened the album, with its raw guitar riffs and vocals, as well as a great breakdown section to end the track. These few tracks show what the album could have been if the band took a few more risks and tried to change their sound up a little bit more, instead of just settling on one that sounded alright. Pop-punk is a hard genre to get right as the issue of the songs sounding too similar is a constant threat, and often it is down to the lyrics to really set the best pop-punkers from the rest. Nothing on You Can€™t Burn Out particularly grabbed my attention lyrically the way that bands such as The Wonder Years do, and after a few listens all I wanted to do was to put on one of their records or listen to the current kings of UK pop-punk, Lower Than Atlantis. I wish Summerlin had have tried to set the scene on fire, without being too worried about burning out.
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Multimedia journalism student at Bournemouth University, my dream is to one day be paid to lie in bed, listen to music, and go to gigs. Follow me on Twitter @dandonnelly_ or find me on @DanDy57.