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"The Hard Place - Burn review"

By Steve Nall

Hello music fans and welcome back to The Hard Place! If you want to know about the great unsigned rock, hard rock and metal bands in the Central/Eastern KY area, then this is the place you need to be. This month I’ve dipped into the “rock” end of the musical pool and have come up with Lexington’s own Burn. The band’s origins trace back all the way back to 1998 when they were just a duo of Joseph Greene and Joshua Fletcher (guitar and drums, respectively). Over the years, the band has grown in popularity as well as size, with the addition of Demetrios Karathanasis on keyboards. Burn’s myspace page has a mixture of songs from their first CD (the self-titled “Burn”) as well as their second offering, “Familiar to the Blear-Eyed and to Barbers,” and it is from this mixed bag that I get the songs for this review.

First off, let’s start with a track from “Burn” entitled “Alien Love”. The song begins with some keyboard effects underneath solitary lead guitar. When the band kicks in for the verse, they fall into a very catchy, swingin’ rhythm that hooks you immediately. The band combines some nice vocal panning and reverb effects with some pretty trippy guitar sounds in the pre chorus that work to “push” the mood of the song further. In contrast, the music in the chorus reverts to a more straight forward hard rock styling that sets the listener up for the coming vocal hook. Both parts, although very different, work together. There’s also some cool atmospheric “alien” keyboard sounds in the background that help set the overall mood and transition the different sections of the songs well.

The second song, also from “Burn” was “Dreams I Stole”. This was the ballad of the bunch, and with all ballads nowadays, it starts off with an acoustic guitar. Nice sounding guitar, though. A “phased” electric guitar fades strong on this one and the song has some nice melodies that show the vocals off well. The song has a very Stone Sour-ish feel to it, intentional or not. The drums make their appearance at the first chorus to drive the song just a little more. But with a song like this, that’s really all that’s needed. The build ups are nice and powerful without breaking into the formula of big drums and monster tone distorted guitars to get the emotional rise out of the listener. I can’t lie, there is a tad of it here, but the band knows how to reel it in and not put the song on that level. The additional lead vocal in the background near the ending of the song add another layer to an already well arranged song.

For the third song, I moved on to Burn’s second release, “Familiar to the Blear-Eyed and to Barbers”, and a song called “Does Anybody Care”. This one starts out with a guitar riff that reminds me very much of something a pop band from the 80’s would come up with. Very bright and clear and it pulls you in right away. At first, the choice of using a Jew’s harp in the B-section was, needless to say, strange to me. But as the second time came around and I got more into the whole vibe of the track, it actually added to the “fun” of the song. It adds that extra touch that many bands would’ve overlooked. The panned backing vocals in the bridge are a cool addition for those of us that like wearing headphones. The clean tone of the well played lead guitar fits the attitude of the song completely. There are lots of hooks in this song, from the feel set by the opening riff to the “oohs” in the B-sections and the ending.

The last song I checked out was called “Toy Gun”. The song starts out with a very cool effect of a reel of tape starting up in the studio. The main riff is a nice catchy acoustic driven section that would get the dance floor of any club jumping. This one’s got a pretty long intro (57 seconds), but they fill it up nicely with some well played harmonica. The harmonica really fits in well with the slight Tom Petty vibe of the track. The analog overdrive applied to the vocals works well with the stripped down style of the song and becomes somewhat of a hook in itself. Overall the song has a fairly modern rock feel, even with the harmonica playing lead lines between verses.

Overall I think Burn writes some good songs. Mainly an acoustic driven band, they never-the-less do well adding in the keyboard effects and hard rockin guitars when the song calls for it. Also, I like the different vibes present in each song. Though all the songs share a common touching off point, the guys in Burn don’t allow themselves to fall into the rut of writing the same song with different chords like many bands in their genre. And what exactly is their genre? Well, that’s hard to say. From what I’ve heard, Burn runs the gambit from 80’s style pop songs to almost classic rock to modern acoustic rock and they fit into all these genres well. They have had songs played on X103 in Lexington, WEBN in Cincinnati and XM satellite alternative rock radi - "ME" Music Entertainment Magazine


By Charlie Denison

It’s been said that rock music is a dying breed. With the emo movement, techno and bands like Linkin’ Park and Evanescence, the classic rock and grunge-influenced groups are struggling to break into the business. Musical integrity is losing to the hope of fame through the mainstream market.

Here in Lexington, there is a band hell bent to get past the “status quo” and spread the word of their raw, rockin’ sound that – love it or hate it – is a reminder rock is alive and well. With their second album, Familiar to the Blear-Eyed and the Barbers, local trio Burn stays true to the music they love – the music that defines them.

The 10 songs on Familiar have a variety of eclectic melodies that can easily get stuck in your head. The first track, “That You Do,” has a production quality reminiscent of Nirvana’s Nevermind. The razor-sharp vocals of Joe Greene scratch and shriek intensely over Josh Fletcher’s solid drum performance.

That song, compared with “Does Anybody Care,” punctuated with Beatlesque background vocals, exemplify the musical flexibility Burn showcases. Fletcher, who is now in graduate school at Northern Kentucky for music education, has noticed the versatility in performances from the widespread collection of musical interests.

“The shows reflect the differences and how each player has influenced the other,” he said.

The new album, produced by Dave Barrick (Kentucky Headhunters, George Clinton, Nashville Pussy), gives Burn a cutting-edge mix of anger, sorrow and self-reflection that takes on hard rock, grunge and psychedelia in enchanting varieties.

Burn’s self-titled first album was also produced by Barrick. The accomplished producer helped develop and strengthen the songs, but the live performances are where the songs take on a new life and are received just as well, or better. “The first time I heard Joe and Josh perform, I thought Joe’s voice was just as good live as it was on the recording,” said keyboardist Demetrios Karathanasis. “It was then I understood how good they were.”

In a live performance, the members communicate with each other like musical telepathy to allow stellar dynamics and an intimate experience for the audience.

“Reading off each other is the second greatest strength of the band,” said Karathanasis. “Our greatest strength is versatility.”

Karathanasis, who had no experience with a band before Burn, was no stranger to performance. Culling from is high school days as an athlete, he was able to get in the groove and let the adrenaline take control while performing for an audience. The transition from the court to the stage came naturally thanks to his solid partners.

Karathanasis’s contribution to the band is largely evident in the painfully powerful “Desperate Times.” Although forlorn and cryptic, the melody is tranquil. This song could be categorized in contemporary rock, but it releases a sincere sadness that groups like Staind, Godsmack, Disturbed and Papa Roach lack.

In Familiar influences are speculated but not evident. Greene’s ear is a contributor to his creativity, but it is not his main source. An avid songwriter, the band has enough originals for three more albums. Not to mention, Burn has an extensive list of covers that include crowd-pleasing surprises, such as Van Halen’s “Jump” and the theme song from “Cheers.”

Though the band may have plenty of tricks up their sleeves, it is their original material that thrives. Greene’s songwriting varies from personal to creative fiction to abstract. Familiar spans Greene’s life from the age of 14 until two weeks before recording. In fact, the track “It’s Not Me” did not have complete lyrics until the band arrived at Barrick’s studio in Glasgow, Kentucky.

The three Burn members have been working hard and growing up but not giving up on the hopes of taking their band to the level of a full-time career. The group has been played on Lexington’s Z103 as well as featured on Cincinnati’s WEBN.

Steering away from the mainstream, the road to success has been a challenge, but the dream is alive. With each success and each setback, each move is one more stepping stone to stardom.

Like Greene said, “It comes with time; music is a game of patience, not perfection.”

For Burn fans, the wait is over for Familiar. A CD release party is scheduled at Patchen Pub on Saturday, Nov. 4. The band will begin playing at 11p.m.
- W Weekly - Lexington, KY


Burn-2001, Familiar to the Blear-Eyed and to Barbers-2006



Burn was founded in 1998 by Joseph Greene (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar) and Joshua Fletcher (drums, percussion, and vocals). Burn played as a duo for a few years before adding Demetrios Karathanasis on keyboards and backup vocals. They have played extensively on the East coast and have two full-length albums, both recorded at Barrick Studio in Glasgow, Ky. Barrick has recorded such well-known acts as The Kentucky Headhunters, George Clinton, Nashville Pussy, and Black Stone Cherry. Burn is an unsigned band but their goal is to acquire a record deal and tour the country. Here's what some of the area's critics had to say about Burn's debut album: "With the combination of powerful straight ahead rock, Spanish, rockabilly, and even acoustic guitar riffs, Burn clearly covers a lot of ground on their self-titled debut record...Burn has proven that young men with many musical interests and influences can combine these in an effective and ear-friendly rotation. Burn begins with a very Nirvana-esque guitar that takes you back in time, if only for a short time, until singer Joe Greene's lyrical persuasion quickly overtakes the song entitled appropriately enough 'Burn.'" Erik Lake of News 4 U Magazine, 2001. Interesting notes: "Just for the Night" single aired on XM Satellite Radio Alternative Station hosted by Billy Zero "Paradox" single aired on EDO International Radio in Athens, Greece. "Alien Love" single aired on WEBN Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Stoned Out" and "Space and Time" single aired on Z103 Radio in Lexington, Ky. "Burn" single aired on WRFL Radio in Lexington, Ky. 8 tracks from Burn's first CD were included in the movie soundtrack of "Becoming Morris," directed by Paul Grundy and produced by A Heavyweight Production Co.