The indie rock “Born on Fire” is a record five years in the making, but it sounds more like country rock meets campfire sing-along with instruments.
A truly great record is able to capture the hearts of listeners regardless of whether they are die-hard fans of a particular genre. Unfortunately for Reilly, his release falls short of that: this album can expect to be bypassed by those of the heavier rock n’ roll community.
It took a lot of effort to get through this record. Almost every song has the same few beat patterns and the same range. Reilly is not a very strong technical singer, which he draws attention to by singing in the same octave throughout the entire album. To his credit, though, his voice is pleasant enough to listen to, even with such a limited vocal range.
Listening to this repetitive album quickly became tedious. By the sixth track, I was counting the minutes until it was over. The occasional song stood out as worth listening to, like “Do the Death Slide” and “The Black Kat.” The guitar riffs and solos begin to vary more as listeners progress, which is a redeeming quality for the album.
“The Black Kat” is especially worth listening to, for anyone who enjoys a good guitar solo to dance to. Other solos and intro riffs stand out as well, but this one is a personal favorite.
The bassist, while never prominent, also redeems this album with consistently heavy and epic riffs going steady in the background. Though it never stands out, the beat captures the groove of the songs perfectly and can make less enthusiastic listeners want to move to the music with the rest of the country/indie/whatever rock fans.
“Let’s raise a glass to the dead and the gone / Let’s raise ‘em up again ‘cuz they been dead too long.”
I will give Reilly credit for thoughtful songwriting, particularly with the lyrics like the ones above. I especially enjoy his refreshingly genuine words in the seventh track, “Hangin’ Around.”
“All week I been in the middle of a bad deal / Where the management fucks you and the workers all steal / And the girl from human resources sweet talks me to squeal ...”
Most artists on the lighter side of rock (near country) are afraid to swear in their music for fear of isolating themselves from more conservative fans. I admire his boldness for just throwing the F-bomb out there multiple times while sounding the way he does.
While not exceptional, the album is worth a listen if one is looking for a high-energy feel that doesn’t assault the senses. The energetic beat present throughout most of the album comes to a smooth end as the final song, “Paradise Lane,” winds listeners down with a mellow ending and completes the listening experience beautifully.
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Skylar Griego is the assistant culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TDLBooks.