Travis Morrison appears to have been pretty busy for a guy who “retired” from music. Between the side project Time Travel and The Dismemberment Plan’s poorly received comeback (2013’s Uncanney Valley), as well as that Huffington Post gig, Morrison has had a lot on his plate. Yet, the man continues to pump out music, now with the backing of a trio of bearded rockers who call themselves The Burlies. The Burlies EP, their debut, features a variety of rock ‘n’ roll music stripped of that DP-born experimentalism that Morrison’s thrown into past records.
The opening track, “In a Never-Ending Way,” is like a smooth indie-rocker that breaks down into a 1980s hook that would’ve made Tommy Tutone blush. References to the 1980s aside, it’s a satisfying song—not too remarkable but fitting for any “summer nights” playlist.
“In a Never-Ending Way” flows into a crunchier, feedback rocker. Dubbed “The Ocean,” the guitar leads carry a steady beat through the song, playing over John Bonham-esque thunder and grinding rhythm guitars.
The highlight of the EP, the lyrics carry almost no weight; rambled images of “skeletons” and “frightened dogs” are sung over a psychedelic surf rock breakdown before leading into happenings in “deep space.” Listeners probably won’t care, though; “The Ocean” is a potent showing of hard rock gone indie.
The Burlies EP’s finishing song eases in with “On Ice.” Subtly introduced with a gentle guitar line, the song becomes a slide-driven chorus as it goes on. A breakdown into chants of being a “grown-ass man” slows the song down, but the song bounces into a calm bass groove as guitars trade off licks. Well-mixed and tinged with the blues, “On Ice” brings The Burlies EP to a close.
The Burlies’ debut EP is an easy going indie rocker topped off with a startling head banger and a strike of the blues that says Morrison and company have the chops to write good rock ‘n’ roll music. It’s not exactly a standout EP, but The Burlies EP will definitely leave this fan eagerly awaiting for whatever else the bearded foursome has coming next.