They may be a blur of motion when they perform live, but on their new release, “When You Crave a Sweetness,” The Brothers Burn Mountain show that they’re also inventive songwriters whose musical panorama extends beyond simple, athletic energy.
Recorded [in part] at Sparta Sound Studios in Sparta, Minn., with Rich Mattson at the helm, the new disc shows it’s impossible to pin this duo – brothers Jesse and Ryan Dermody – down to any definitive sound or style, as they simply career from track to track with the abandon of a rabid dog in a vigorous mash-up of sensibilities.
Even the word eclectic comes up short describing the brothers Dermody.
Unlike most discs, “When You Crave a Sweetness” seems divided like those big, black round plastic things of days gone by, into an A-side and a B-side.
Side A has the more sensitive tunes with verse-chorus structure and a lighter vibe, while side B sounds like Honeyboy Edwards, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Page and Jack White thrown into a high-speed blender that elicits a blues-based brew that explodes like a nail-filled pipe bomb.
Side A includes “My Crazy Daisy,” which mingles jug-stompin’ old piedmont blues with laconic 1960’s pop harmonies, hand-clappin’ and sticks on the drum shell clackin’ into a hazy daydream about Daisy, “my fine wine; my drink in the park by the trees.
Little Song Bird” has a sonic juju intro that would do Robert Quine of Richard Hell and the Voidoids proud, in a falsetto extravaganza that paints a portrait of a feathered creature fluttering on the window sill and Aquarius rising.
“The Banging” bubbles up like something from The Band, circa 1972. I almost can hear Levon Helm and Rick Danko harmonizing on this one.
Side B features “A Study of the Thieves,” a blast-furnace blues that owes more to Robert Johnson, via Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown than anything more recent.
“Sharpen My Knife on the Edge of My Mind” has a ka-thunka rhythm that sounds like a Ford Pinto with a flat tire going down the road at slow speed. Austin bluesmen actually call it a “flat-tire shuffle” or a backward shuffle.
“Tickin’ Time Bomb” has the insistent driving feel of Muddy’s “Two Trains Runnin'” that Roy Alstad arranged years ago, and intones time slippin’ through my hands.
That The Brothers Burn Mountain have energy is without debate.
What “When You Crave a Sweetness” brings to light is that they’re talented musicians whose palette of aural shades and hues is so varied that they really are unclassifiable.” – John Ziegler, The Duluth News Tribune