BURNS BLUE - What If...


Frontiers Records
Release date: June 16, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

If you like straight-ahead, guitar-heavy rock, with vocals to match, Burns Blue’s What If… is your album.

Burns Blue is a conveniently named band – Vinny Burns on guitar, Sam Blue on vocals. See how easy it is, folks? They are a couple of veterans from other bands (Asia, Ultravox, etc.), and What If… is their debut album together. Drummer Pete Jupp and bassist Bob Skeat round out the band. I do think Skeat Burns would be a good name for a country band. Maybe if this whole “rock” thing doesn’t work out, we can see these guys on Austin City Limits, spitting tobacco juice around their steel guitars to the sawdust floor below, all the while cranking out twangy square dances and bootscootin’ boogies as Jethro promenades with his third cousin Betty Sue, hoping to cop a feel in the haymow when the song is over.

But I digress. There’s a Bad Company/Holy Water feel to the album, particularly the first song, “Cool Me Down.” I’m not saying it sounds like Bad Company; it just reminds me of parts of Holy Water. Maybe the difference between the phrases “sounds like” and “reminds me of” is a distinction without a real difference. But it makes me feel better to distinguish the two. And that’s what it’s all about – making me feel better about myself. There’s also a little McAuley-Schenker Group feel thrown in there for good measure. That might not be what Burns Blue was going for, but I like it anyway.

The second song, “Straight,” is little more than album-filler, but “Deadly Sin” is a catchy sing-along. “Don’t Wanna Know” is another damn good tune, with the added wrinkle of a saxophone in the background early, and later as a solo. It reminds me of the sax from Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now” that you could never get out of your head. Again, I’m not saying it “sounds like” that, it just reminds me …

The rest of the album is solid, including a standout in “Tomorrow Never Comes.” It has a dreamy, distant quality that takes you somewhere else for its five minutes: “It’s you that leads me home/ from the wilderness I roam/ I’ll be there tomorrow/ Tomorrow never comes.” “Tomorrow Never Comes” is a long, lonely drive late at night. Go ahead, you can feel a little depressed after listening to this one – it’s okay.

What If… is a well-produced album that sounds good, with musicians doing what they know how to do. What more can you ask for?


  • Ross Swinton

    Ross was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. His first recollection of listening to Rock music was at a party in the early '70s, and Thin Lizzy, Electric Light Orchestra, The Who, and Nazareth made him pick up his first Air Guitar and Rock-On! He spent 23 years, from the age of 16, in the Army and wandered around the globe getting paid for travelling to far, sometimes near, exotic, though sometimes dangerous, lands and had a blast whilst doing it. Since leaving the Army in ’98, he has settled near his hometown, just a few miles from Edinburgh, Scotland. Here he helps local bands by recording demos and albums; building them websites; helping put on gigs for them, and generally helping them build up a fan base.

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