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Friday, July 07, 2017

Projec 86 -- Songs to Burn Your Bridges By


[Editors Note: This is a review of the 2004 Tooth & Nail Release of Songs to Burn Your Bridges By, not the, by comparison, incomplete self-released 2003 version]

After the release of 2002's Truthless Heroes, Project 86 found themselves at a crossroads. Recently dropped by Atlantic Records, the band had no label. All but their core fans had deserted them after Truthless Heroes' music and lyrics seemingly signified a major shift in philosophy. A band that just a year before seemed poised to take over the word now seemed to be on the brink of disaster--or right in the middle of it. From this place, Project 86 composed Songs to Burn Your Bridges By, possibly their best work to date.
However, I also need to say, part of Songs to Burn Your Bridges By's perfection is also found in the way that it serves as a companion for its predecessor. Indeed, the bridge of its opening track, "The Spy Hunter" contains a bellowing repetition of the phrase "I do not need anymore Truthless Heroes!" Its five-minute centerpiece is titled "Breakdown in 3/4," both a reference to the chaos of being label-less between their third and fourth albums, AND the time signature of the ridiculously heavy breakdown at the end of the song. If Truthless Heroes shouted out what Project 86 didn't believe, Songs to Burn Your Bridges By is a voice in the desert calling out what they do--and this isn't just an over-emotive descriptor. The rousing "Safe Haven," with its The Matrix-esque imagery, blatantly states this.
However, one does not need any knowledge of Truthless Heroes or Project 86's past to enjoy Songs to Burn Your Bridges By. It is fun, angry, heavy hard rock, perfectly-paced, full of space, clear in its imagery and emotion, following a definite emotional arc, exploring myriad sounds and textures, while never-flagging in consistency. All instruments are given prominence like they were on the band's first two albums, meaning a song is just as sure to begin with one of Steven Dail's dirty, nasty bass-lines as it is one of Randy Torres' inventive guitar riffs.
As a fan of this band, as a fan of hard rock music, as a fan of this extremely under-rated album, which came at a time when all eyes were seemingly off Project 86, I cannot praise this music enough.
For a full picture of everything that makes the 2004-version of Project 86 so great, check out the below music video, and then the below live video, proof that a return to Christian rock festivals was all Project 86 needed to return to legendary status:

For me, the summer this album was released is a special moment in my history, and a time when I felt unique connection to this band's position. Thirteen years removed, my listens to Songs to Burn Your Bridges By are just as potent.

2004 Tooth & Nail Records
1. The Spy Hunter 3:37
2. Oblivion 4:05
3. A Shadow on Me 3:30
4. Safe Haven 3:29
5. Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy... 3:54
6. Breakdown in 3/4 4:58
7. The Great Golden Gate Disaster 3:42
8. Breakneck Speed 3:42
9. Sioux Lane Spirits 4:43
10. Circuitry 4:02
11. 3 Card 2:18
12. A Fruitless End Ever 2:58
13. A Text Message to the So-Called Emperor 1:02
14. Solace 5:02

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