Review: Threat Level Burundy – Gold

It’s been said that the best music for the Halloween season is ska… because it’s dead. But that couldn’t be less true with bands like Threat Level Burgundy keeping the ska punk genre alive and picking up. Their latest release, five track EP Gold, with its perfect blend of lively guitar and bass riffs, loud vocals, and energetic horns stabs, is just the source of serotonin that’s been desperately needed as we trudge toward the end of 2020.

Threat Level Burgundy boasts a rather impressive history of playing with bands such as Big D & The Kids Table, Bomb The Music Industry!, The Supervillians, A Billion Ernies, and The B Foundation. This is no surprise given the talent that radiates from this hefty seven member group, with two trombone players, a tenor sax player, a trumpet/guitar player, bassist, drummer, and a guitarist, three of whom do vocals. Their rich and resonant sound is particularly striking, each member shining on the EP. There is never a dull bass line or horn riff. Each track is simply pleasantly fun and impossible to not sing along to. 

The first track, “Half-Life 3 Confirmed”, comes in super strong, its rapid pace and exhilarating instrumentals setting the tone for the EP.  I have to emphasize just how infectious every song on this record is; each one combines uplifting beats, booming vocals, and some of the catchiest choruses to have you singing and headbanging along after just one listen. “Lost” is one of those elegiac anthems about finding joy in life despite taking on more responsibilities with age that I imagine just about everyone can resonate with, which also features a pretty sick guitar solo. The next track, “Pow!” is a much shorter, more brassy, punk inspired tune that flows nicely into my personal favorite off the EP, “Scene.” This song is pure, cheery fun bottled up into 2 minutes and 55 seconds of ska show heaven. True to its name, the lyrics are reminiscent of a time when many people could just show up to a cramped venue and dance and sing to live music together. It’s nothing short of heartwarming to hear bands keeping that spirit alive despite our inability to skank with one another for the foreseeable future. It’s a song you could definitely see yourself screaming with your friends when it comes on. 

After this sweet track, the EP ends with “This is Fine.” A story about the ugly end of an unhealthy yet significant friendship, I found this to be an interesting way to finish out the release. It’s somewhat melancholy, as any fallout is, but is also hopeful for a better future. Put to a chill but still upbeat groove, it’s a fairly lighthearted end to what is a very dynamic EP. I’m a firm believer that everyone would be a better person if they just had a little ska punk in their lives, so I can’t recommend this EP enough. The quality of Gold is consistent with the other releases from Threat Level Burgundy, We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat, And Then Things Got Weird, and The Longest Day, so it’s only more exciting to see what they do next.

-Morgan Gunning

Featured photo by Coleman Rogers