In dramatic fashion, a devastatingly provocative percussion comes storming into focus in the first few bars of John Dellroy Band’s “Burning Desire,” only to find itself surrounded by a neon-tinted riff that is intent on rivaling its gargantuan weight and texture. The bass comes creeping out of the ridges in the drums and swings the hammer of the gods as hard as it can, cutting through the ensuing harmonies in all of their pristine immaculateness. The vocals enter the fold and pepper the main melody with an oaky organic timbre that complements the tone of the guitars wonderfully. Our senses are in the palm of Dellroy’s hand as we press on and discover the depth of the bassline in the verses that follow, but we’re never in fear for what might be lying around then next twist or turn that the song has to throw in our direction. The urgency in the tempo is spurred on by the grizzly distortion glazing over the string arrangement, but trying to turn back is impossible once we reach the chorus.
The heavy rocking riffs are skewed with an EDM-style beat that, on paper, would seem to counter the aesthetical makeup of “Burning Desire,” but, nevertheless, it works brilliantly in this setting. Most of the drum tracks that I’ve listened to in the last month have been mere role-players in the big picture of any given single, but that isn’t the case here at all; in fact, I would go as far as to say that the percussive elements are playing as big a part in forging the emotion around the narrative in the lyrics as Dellroy’s deliberate vocal execution does. From the moment that we come across their tenacity and uncaged vitality at the start of the song, the drums are pummeling away at us with impunity and reflecting the beating heart of a dazed lover desperate to find their other half. True to its title in every sense, “Burning Desire” is an example of the sublimely focused lyricism that this band has come to master since their debut, and I for one find it to be their most well-rounded material to date.
As we reach the climactic fever pitch of “Burning Desire,” all of the tension that was churned up at the beginning of the track is released in a single explosion of colorfully cathartic instrumentation flanked with a soaring lead vocal that transcends the limits of the studio and ascends into the heavens from which it was first spawned. John Dellroy Band have come an exceptionally long way since 2013’s A New Life Has Begun, and in many ways, this latest release is a stylistic quantum leap for the quintet and its namesake leader. There have been a lot of really decent experimental rock, folk and electronic songs that have made their way to my desk this spring, but none have packaged so much diversity and substance into a single listen as “Burning Desire” does, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s among the more notable releases that fans can look out for this month.