Burgess Shale
"It's Never Enough"

(Skeptical Records 2003)Burgess Shale - It\'s Never Enough

Had The B-52's been political and less poppy, they probably would have been Burgess Shale. With similar shared lead vocal duties between both male and female vocals, the band comes across with a complete sound that suggests a real collaborative effort. And while evoking a number of different bands, from the eccentric to the opinionated, with their sound, Burgess Shale's "It's Never Enough, Is It?" is a seventeen track album that will get, at one point or another a smirk or two, your toe tapping and, most importantly to the band, I would suspect, get you thinking.

In their style that is frequently rapid, verbose and made up of quirky, unique sounds, Burgess Shale begin their album with "No Duh" followed by the softer and introspective "Broken Sonar." "We're on our own, no welfare checks, no Medicare, we're not poor enough for them to care./We're moving to Nome, I think it's north of Mexico so that's the way we'll go," the band sing on the harmonic sliding chorus of the gritty "Iditarod." The very likable and memorable "Lucky Punk" uses quick paced vocals on the verses to get your attention between choruses while the slower and more somber "Whatever" and the vocally intoned pulsing of "Living in Ultrasound" are more direct in their seriousness.

Using female vocals to echo the main vocal line, Burgess Shale realize as fully as they can the B-52's parallel as "Shrunken Heads" uses a sort of upbeat groove with spoken distorted female vocals as a bridge to an instrumental break. "Emmitt's March" sets a séance-like picture where Burgess Shale takes it upon themselves to martyr and using a question and answer format, put words into the mouths ("Did your momma hear your scream? Yes she did...Don't allow the people to forget about me") of five men who died (such as Zhou Jianxiong who was tortured to death in 1998 by Chinese officials for information on his wife who was suspected of being pregnant without permission) unnecessarily and inhumanely. "My Lost Ostrich" sees the first time on the album that female vocals lead off a song while the sing song familiar sound of "Hit & Run" is a toe tapper. The creeping "Butt Crack Blues" is low key as is "The Moron Song," aside from a short rap-like portion. The rhythmic and mid tempo "Going Extinct" closes the album.

Strictly on the fact that the band has obvious and unconcealed political feelings, Burgess Shale will not be for everyone. Instrumentally, the band keeps it interesting through out the lengthy album by offering some variety here and there. "It's Never Enough, Is It?" is direct and wastes no time while informing and entertaining even if the listener might feel occasionally as though they are being underestimated.

B

buy it!