Five years on from their acclaimed second album “Public Mono”, Burning Ferns return with a new LP “World Of The Wars”. And my oh my, how things have changed. “World Of The Wars” is the sound of a band grappling with the world going to hell, and making sense of it through the medium of pristine guitar pop. Initially recorded remotely in the face of Covid lockdown and completed at their Le Mons studio, Newport in 2021/22, it is an album of relentless musicality and guile. Songwriter Tony Gray displays unerring quality control to deliver 12 startling new songs that push on from the power pop of previous releases to more widescreen musical aspirations.
Accompanied by established Ferns, Nathan Abraham (lead guitar/vocal), Brychan Todd (bass/keyboards) and Dave Corten (rhythm guitar/vocal), the album sees a personnel change on drums. The band say hello to Newport’s assimilated New Yorker, Erik Stams (Darling Buds, Jon Langford & The Men of Gwent) whilst waving goodbye to Slim Short after two albums of loyal service. The songs are a wall to wall technicolour delight, embracing a range of styles including glam rock, pure pop and 70s psychedelia. It is a lyrical masterclass too; wrestling with a wide range of themes from the mundane to the existential. Covid rears its ugly head on “Danger In The Western Hemisphere” and “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”, while there is a restlessness too ("Frustration"/"Til Tomorrow"). Add to that a simple love song, a song about the “Me Too” movement seen through the prism of primates, and a polemic on disaster capitalism, and you have the makings of an album for our times. In the end it is enough to bring you to tears, as the album ends with guitar-pop masterclass “The Town Crier”, chosen as the lead single for this release.
“World Of The Wars” has been mixed by Charlie Francis (REM/High Llamas/Robyn Hitchcock), with artwork provided by Newport’s greatest cult hero, Jon Langford.