A forceful showing by Burhenn
By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, June 22, 2012
Former District musician Laura Burhenn wants to start a revolution, and “Generals,” her vibrant and forceful new album with the Mynabirds, may inspire a listener to join her. The album is named for a Richard Avedon photo, and while the record is a call to arms to fight political injustice, it’s also a display of, and an homage to, the power of women.
The title track is a throbbing song that screams through with a harsh, dirty guitar sound and plays with a rhythm that moves in and out of a groove, giving the song a jerking feeling as Burhenn sings, “Calling all my generals, my daughters, my revolutionists / We got strength in numbers / And they’re gon’ to pay for it.”
The sparse “Karma Debt” features Burhenn’s sexy vocals surrounded by a swirl of mellow electronic sounds, and then the song ends unresolved. Hints of surf rock pop up in songs such as “Radiator Sister,” which has a fun, poppy melody that belies its dark message. The epic “Mightier Than the Sword” is the most hopeful song on the album. It builds from a low rumble to a choral-sounding work and back down to a rumble again as Burhenn’s strong and versatile vocals work easily with such emotional shifts.
Burhenn is clearly passionate to change the world, and the album is almost strong enough to do it. The last song, “Greatest Revenge,” starts quietly then reprises to “Karma Debt,” as Burhenn sings out, “I’d give it all for a legacy of love.”