Philadelphia’s Gothic-Folk Rock 49 Burning Condors EP Review
Review of the New EP From Philly Gothic-Folk Rock Band 49 Burning Condors
By Tyler Asay
The new record from Philadelphia gothic-folk act 49 Burning Condors could fit in many different boxes. Truths And Roses, which the band released last week, is the first EP from a group that knows exactly what they want to be and sound like. A mix of dark country/americana, with drop D progressions and bone-chilling vocals provided by singer Kimber Dulin, Truths And Roses provides an insightful look into the world of 49 Burning Condors.
The first thing that struck me about 49 Burning Condors was their instrumentation. A friend of mine once told me a joke that has stuck for a long time:
Q: What’s the difference between a violin and a fiddle?
A: You can’t spill beer on a violin.
It’s a shame that live concerts aren’t happening right now, because I’m sure there’s been some beer spilled at a 49 Burning Condors show (it would probably be spilled by me). Truths And Roses is, as a record, definitely beer & whiskey music. First single and album opener “Marigold Lake” opens up immediately with pounding drums and a ripping fiddle. There’s an aching feel present here, like being lost in the desert for days.
The rest of Truths And Roses operates like a fable, telling old stories through a millennial lens. The slow burn of “Rosaleen” works as an effective Johnny Cash tribute, opening up halfway through with explosive strums and slide guitar. It’s a nice counter balance to the dirgeful “Slow,” that floats like a ghost playing an old-timey mandolin. “Cicadas dance to a moonlight melody,” sings Dulin on “Slow,” constantly evoking dark, country nights.
There’s definitely a modern spin on the genre here; “Within The Woods” instantly reminded me of the turn of the century country-pop such as KT Tunstall, but there’s a “locked in” aspect of how the band is playing here that is reminiscent of modern metal. However, the band will take a turn and channel Fleet Foxes on a song like “Dust,” which is classic country.
Truth And Roses ends with “Jim Jones,” a song about the infamous cult leader. It’s an interesting choice to close the record, but it points to the theme of Truth And Roses; 49 Burning Condors are not trying to cut corners, they’re telling you these stories without beating around the bush. At the end of the day, it’s all you can really offer someone: the matter of fact truth and the beauty that comes with that. You can’t spill beer on a violin.
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About the Author Tyler Asay is a music journalist & musician. He is the singer/songwriter for indie-rock band The Tisburys, and he can usually be found at Main Street Music or Dawson Street Pub. Bruce Springsteen is his hero. Email | Twitter