Joshua Burnside’s latest release, Into the Depths of Hell, is one of those albums that when the tour gets announced, your friend will ask you which song you are most excited to see live and you can just shout, “All of them!”
It really is an amazing piece of work. If you have been following Joshua Burnside on social media you will have seen the music video for ‘War On Everything’, giving you a little touch of what is to come. The overall feel for this album gives a slight vibe of Willy Mason and Alexi Murdoch. It touches on Americana, Irish folk and shows off Burnside’s strongest point, storytelling.
‘Under The Concrete’ has a beautifully fun, uplifting melody that carries us through the song. The song itself sounds simple and peaceful but shows us just how powerful a hook in the melody can be. ‘And You Evade Him/Born In The Blood’ ‘Whiskey Whiskey’ and ‘Driving Alone In the City At Night’ are the next three songs. Placed after one another in perfect order, each has its own distinct sound of guitar slides and runs all sitting underneath Burnsides soft folk vocal.
A few of you may know about how Burnside struggles with the fear of flying and in ‘Whiskey Whiskey’ his vocal sings to us, “My stomach flips and I look to the cabin crew for signs of concern but they don’t give much away.” It’s a small lyric piece within the whole song yet it’s a line that many people can relate to and understand.
‘Driving Alone In The City At Night’ comes in over six minutes long but every second is counted for. This song has so much chaos in it from rapid guitar strumming, drums, extreme auto-tune and even a little bit of spoken word. Burnside is almost broken in grief as he sings to us with what sounds like rain coming down on a tin roof. He creates such a clear picture you can really see the story of this song playing out in your head.
‘War On Everything’ stands out completely from the other songs on the album and is possibly one of the strongest songs on the album (“possibly” because I still can’t decide which is my favourite). The structure and vocal is so smart and your ear is constantly wanting to hear more. The string instruments give this song so much depth. This will certainly be a song that you want to jump and sing as loud as you can (when gigs finally come back). If this was the finale to a live performance you would leave extremely happy and possibly a little tired after giving it your all.
The final track ‘Nothing For Ye’ takes us back to what Burnside is known best for; vocals and storytelling. It reminds me of being a child, hearing old traditional Irish folk songs that would have been sung many years ago and been passed on through generations. The story is beautifully told with lyrics such as:
“Well I have nothing for you today my dear, no oil in the tank, The water I fear will be as cold as the rain, that falls in December, No I have nothing for you today my dear. Well, I have nothing for you, my sweet darling, If I had enough money I’d buy you a ring, for I worried someday you’ll run off with a doctor cos I have nothing for you my sweet darling.”
When you hear this song it will spark a lovely feeling or memory from many years ago. Into the Depths of Hell is an amazing album. It has such grit, sorrow and weight yet it hits a nerve that’s joyous and heartwarming. After listening, all you will want to do is listen again. This will be an album that holds its place on the shelf for many years to come.