It will be finally unveiled on July 12th, Anthropocene, british band Burning House’s debut album.
A group from Southampton, that only in order to semplify the discussion we can define as shoegaze, Burning House had already made a name for themselves last winter, with the release of a first extract from the album, still in production at that time. Mirror Song, this is the title, left us with the curiosity to know more about the music of the trio led by Aaron Mills, to whom we must add the bassist Patrick White, a key element of the band, and, the most recent acquisition, the drummer Dominic Taylor. So it was with great interest that we listened to Anthropocene, that we had the opportunity to discover in avant-première. In this context we also had the chance to have a chat with the kind and brilliant lead singer, interview that you can read at the end of this review.
Anthropocene, an album with a rather troubled genesis, consists of 14 tracks that unravel for more than 70 minutes. Shoegaze sounds are combined with typical britpop cadences, in order to create an original and unusual mix. But they are not the only influences that can be found in the music on offer. More rock rhythms alternate with psychedelic veins and here and there punk nuances peep out. Elements that intertwine seamlessly to create a complex and varied whole.
So here we go, from the most upbeat tracks, dominated by distorsions and feedbacks like the already mentioned Mirror Song, the groovy Mimosa, Forever, that comes at the end of the titletrack Anthropocene, singularly short and interlocutory title, or If You Won’t, to songs with a more hypnotic trend, which, in our opinion, turn out to be the most successful episodes of the record. Among these, a special mention goes to the interesting Elvis Moniker song with a psychedelic flavor and the beautiful Awning that beautifully closes the album, allowing Mills to offer us a nice essay of his phrasing.
Definetely, a successful debut for Burning House.
Coeurs &Choeurs : When and why you decided to become a musician ? Can you tell us your story and more generally the story of the band ?
Aaron Mills : As ever, it remains a mystery. But I would expect early exposure to what music signified for the world around me. For both my parents: an escapism.
You become fascinated by the things that exclude you – as children – our parents union excludes us and so fascinates. I would speculate music was the same mystery.
Burning House has come to mean many things to me. I think I am motivated, in earnest by deeply pathological drives. Thanatos-like. This is more generally me as a person.
I am someone who lives attracted to polarities of all kinds. Absolute silence and Absolute voluptuous volume. Something that extends beyond the everyday that may never really be reified/ fulflled but remains perfect in nebulosity. This is really the basis in which the group was founded.
C&C: About the album, it seems to me very varied and with plenty of different influences. As I understood the process of writing took a little bit of time. Can you tell us more ?
AM: Lots of influences. It marks a transition from the need to communicate things viscerally, yet obscurant, as Nietzsche would say “Action needs the veils of illusion”, but also pure vulnerability, an insight into a person – who has their own story, desires and sufferings. Who are connected inasmuch as we all yearn for the continuity from which we have been wrenched. The writing spans many years of life – spells of depression, alienation, heartbreak, injury and philosophical inquiry. Songwriting influences are well-documented by this point: Elliott Smith, Mark Kozelek, Billy Corgan. The literature of J.G Ballard, Jean Baudrillard and Jorge Luis Borgesian motifs are recurrent themes used to propell deeply personal feelings. It’s been interesting to see some of the themes of the album surface in television namely The OA and also Aronfsky’s ‘Mother!’ – the latter of which uses a disintegrating, burning house to describe anthromorphic climate change. The album was written before seeing these, however.
C&C: Shoegaze is a very varied universe too. What this word mean to you and how the band is part of this musical movement?
AM: There are some fantastic bands that remain loyal to the genre. For me Shoegaze is inextricably linked to my bloody valentine – a group that to me represented endless possibilities. I would get excited reading interviews, where Shields would discuss all the metaphysical concepts behind the music. It awokened the guitar to me. I now see the instrument as limitless in what it can do… There are some great bands emerging who are reviving the genre, but pointing in a different direction. A lot of music, let alone guitar music is up against it with just how decentralised the industry has become. But eventually the things of integrity will be recognised. I believe that.
C&C: You seem very interested in creating connections with literature and psychology. Is this right ? How does affect your approach with music ?
AM: For me wasnt/isn’t a choice. It has been a necessity. I have seen so much of my life events through a psychoanalytic lens. I blame the regressive environment/climate I grew up in… one absolutely hopeless, sewn-up for the rich. I regard myself an intellectual deviant. In the Bataille-sense. Largely because I form much of my perceptions from autodidactic impulse. Sometimes looking at a painting, or reading a few choice lines will be the catalyst to discovery which can birth music. Even if ultimately I’m only chasing my tail around; expressing the same vulnerabilities as everyone else. I’m nevertheless looking for colour and kinship to give me a kind of permission to act.
C&C: Can you describe your new record with a word ?