Wednesday 7 April 2021

Ken Burns - Ken Burns 7"

Labels: Don't Live Like Me Records/(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 01 Dec 2015


1. Saudade

2. The Death Of An Aspiring Icon Pt. II

3. Hemma

I was sat down the other day pondering things and I suddenly released that I'm well behind on a certain little review series. It's futile to think that I'm ever going to catch up, but stranger things have happened. That being said though, while I'm slowly losing my marbles (due to a combination of lockdown, climate, routine and such like), it only seems right to delve into some more awesome post-hardcore/emoviolence/screamo/call it whatever you want. This is the self-titled 7" EP from Massachusetts (USA) band Ken Burns. It was released on two vinyl variants (50 on clear w/blue and yellow splatter and 250 on black) in late 2015 by Don't Live Like Me Records, (We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records and of course, Zegema Beach Records.

I double checked my ‘previously reviewed’ list and this EP definitely wasn’t on there, so that’s a relief (I’ve only ever double-dipped once before without realising it until it was too late!). With that minor bit of embarrassment aside, I’m instantly overwhelmed by how good opening song ‘Saudade’ is. It’s a mix of jangly, melodic emo guitar work, ripping percussion and violent yet emotive screams. Ken Burns seemingly knew how to craft great songs during their short period as a living band (I’m pretty sure they’re resting now). This song is equal parts dramatic post-hardcore grandeur and heart-on-your-sleeve, violent sensitivity, if that makes sense.

From the ashes of the lengthy opener comes the instrumental beauty of ‘The Death Of An Aspiring Icon Pt. II’ and an urgency that overrides that beauty until it overflows when the vocals kick in. Crushing yet intelligent hardcore lays side by side with introspective passages of melody and harmony (the latter being in the sense of self as opposed to the musical sense). EP closer ‘Hemma’ underlines just how good Ken Burns was during the band’s short life, especially when they transition their aggressive post-hardcore into a slower, musical second-half, complete with spoken word samples. Having previously released a tape EP a couple of years before this one, it wasn’t until 2020 when all of the band’s songs were gathered together by Larry Records in the form of an LP discography release. 

As a standalone release though, this 7” ticks all of the boxes in terms of genuinely heartfelt musicianship. It’s short in length but that only makes the yearning for more grow ever stronger. So many bands seem to have come and gone with all but a couple of releases, but I guess that’s the nature of the genre that Ken Burns called home. It’s better to remember something at it was when it was alive, than be haunted by it after death. 

You can stream and download all three songs (name-your-price) below:-

You can still pick up vinyl copies from the link below:-

(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records -

Don't Live Like Me Records -

(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

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