Burkina Flats share a track-by-track of their album Faded Photos and a curated playlist of songs that inspire their style and sound.
Sydney’s Inner West rockers Burkina Flats are purveyors of a larger-than-life combination of folk, blues, country and roots. The group’s new album Faded Photos is packed with 14 tracks that delve into a frantic story of losing one’s mind and becoming detached from reality. It revolves around fading memories of love, a sense of self and the fear of death.
The album was recorded in band member Saxon Thompson’s bedroom. His songwriting style is that of a storyteller, enriched with an emotional narrative that bandmate Christian Gibson-Smith vocalizes through his surf rock tones.
Burkina Flats go in depth about the key songs to their album Faded Photos, while including some insight into some noteworthy songs of other artists who have had a large role in shaping their sound.
Track-by-track by Burkina Flats
Faded Photos tells a story about a fall. As we make our way through the first chapter we are forced to overindulge, to take pleasure in the intrepid hunt for vice and the chaotic landscape of derelict comforts. To set ourselves amongst a tremendous perch and dance upon the melting wax we’ve set beneath us. And then, the fall. And as we fall, we continue to dance to courageously submit to a dark love of passion and desperation. And to clamour behind closed doors for the confirmation that we know who we are. However only after enduring the path we have set ourselves may there finally be rest for the wicked.
Majnun- Burkina Flats
Welcome to the show, it’s my honour and delight to introduce you to Majnun. This was truly a song I can claim to have discovered of its own volition more so than written from my own intentions. After being inspired by Tichumaren blues music of the Sahara Desert, I set out to write a song based on the Bedouin love poem Layla and Majnun by Nizami Gajavi, where a young poet is cursed with an obsession of Layla, the daughter of a wealthy family. However, the locals deem him a madman from his dedicated poems and open displays of infatuation and after Layla’s father denies him her hand in marriage, he flees to the desert to wander in isolation. This song, however, is not about Layla, and is not about the girl, but is about every cursed soul who yearns and sings about the girl. This song warns us of the pursuit of truth and that your sanity may be sacrificed to achieve your fantasy. Join the clan.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have received a highly esteemed music education from my father growing up, including an early exposure to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. And with a great restraint of picking any song from the Murder Ballads or No More Shall We Part albums, it is Jubilee Street featured on Push the Sky Away which I can claim to have both solidified my decision to include strings in select tracks and to have given me the greatest regret for a lack of a grand piano in my songs. Nick’s superb style of narrative songwriting is expertly displayed in many of his songs however Jubilee Street’s unique style of storytelling introduces us to a pedestrian narrative accompanied by a clean guitar motif of aeolian mourning which divulges into a spiritual dream state of surreal expressions and a failing grasp of reality evident in the line, “I was out of place and time, and over the hill, and out of my mind”.
As Jubilee Street continues to break down all physical walls and degenerates deeper into a spiritual hypnagogic state, the narrative becomes more surreal, “I got a fetus on a leash… I’m transforming, I’m vibrating, I’m glowing”, until the song reaches an outburst of spiritual and super-natural transformation as the music builds to an explosive crescendo of piano, strings and guitar roaring the original motif, making for an incredibly powerful experience.
Kings and Chrome- Burkina Flats
This song is your final warning, and your last chance to turn away from the impending doom. Kings and Chrome contains two competing voices, one of which is heading down a silk road of hallucinations and spiritual dedication, committed to entropy and a violent goddess of chaos. The other is an outside voice, calling us back from this path, an intervening echo, rooted both within and outside ourselves pleading us to abandon this path. Kings and Chrome is a deeply spiritual song that sees our hero’s tenuous grasp of reality decay as he submits himself to a higher power, that which claims to be of a nurturing and protective nature, nonetheless will freely use him to orchestrate her grand designs. Beware of all who you meet along the holy road, for not all will have the best intentions for you.
Chapter II: The Fall- Burkina Flats
And now, at last our hero falls. And I can assure you this is the sound of falling. Take heed not to be fooled by the voices of angels, as it is for this reason most don’t realize that they’re falling until they’ve reached the bottom.
Hell of a Time- Burkina Flats
Hell of a Time is about desperation, losing all control in life and leaving all chance of rescue in the hands of someone who you can’t trust to come through. When God doesn’t answer prayers, heroes become villains. And then who else do we look to for salvation? Don’t feel too bad for our fallen hero just yet, after all it was all his fault, and you haven’t seen what he’s about to do.
Hunters and Collectors – Say Goodbye
I am a guitar player who listened to a lot of Hunters and Collectors, so yeah… I can play bass. And what an incredible honour to be talking about another of Australia’s most complex and poetic songwriters, Mark Seymour. Say Goodbye’s first two bars of fast, groovy tom-driven drum intro immediately tells us exactly what we’re in store for with this song. And they don’t keep us waiting long before the chest-warming, train-driving bass riff bursts its way front and centre. Hunters and Collectors incorporate one of the most effective horn sections in all rock music, I regret not having my own brass tubes every time I listen to this song. The tone king, guitar riff answering to the feet stomping bass set this song truly as a dirty, gutter rock experience while the horns and Mark’s dramatic vocals perfectly introduce a grandiose, theatrical, epic rock tale of decayed passion and grey love.
Run- Burkina Flats
I don’t know if all villains believe themselves to be the hero, but this is certainly a love song. Desperation and hope for blessed grace have been abandoned, salvation is not coming, and someone must take command when the saints don’t answer prayers. This song is the birth of a violent and sinister love, powerful and willing to overcome all obstacles. But is this dark mutilation true love? And how can you convince someone that the obsession they feel isn’t real love? Or should you just run?
Chapter III: Faded Photos- Burkina Flats
Chapter III: Faded Photos sees our villain get ready for his worst act yet. This is a song about stagnation, losing love and losing yourself. Faded Photos is used as the reoccurring motif to represent a dementia patients’ sense of self, their experiences of life and of love. With a growing dependency on photographs to substitute the void of new life experiences, repeated exposure will blur the edges or even white-out entire sections of an image completely, diminishing their utility to substitute for life experiences.
This song is a warning to all of us to not let our happiness be measured by memories dwindling further in the past and to always seek new adventures.
Field Where She Lay- Burkina Flats
Perhaps the less I say about this one the better.
The World Ender- Lord Huron
One of my absolute favourite modern bands which are proving to be instant classics with their unique blend of bluegrass folk, roots, spaghetti western and indie, surf rock, Lord Huron serve both as an upbeat dancing band as much as an insolation pondering experience. From the immediate introduction of the twangy, celestial guitar and super reverby mixed percussion, World Ender instantly places you on the desert set of The Good the Bad and the Ugly. With Ben Schneider’s otherworldly, conjuring vocal chants, Lord Huron delivers a mysterious, sinister tale of revenge, tragedy and the haunting of past trauma on the guilty. Lord Huron expertly builds upon mid-western and frontier supernatural superstitions to create stories and songs steeped in mysticism and intrigue which make their lyrics well worth a dedicated listen.
Hell of a Ride- Burkina Flats
Do you believe in redemption? Rest for the wicked? If death is indeed a new path, then the story of our hero ends here at the beginning. You didn’t listen to us back in Kings and Chrome but we’re still here. This song is the voice of all your loved ones gathered at the end to welcome you to your eternal rest, after all it’s been a long fight and you’ve come a long way for piece of mind. Fear not for those you’ve left behind and the state of your house, you can rest easy now the work is done. Now it’s time to begin the true climb.
If you want to take a journey through desperation, love, loss, rebirth, death, life and faded photos of memories, use this album as a guiding force to enter into the wilderness of madness and clarity. Check out the album here and soak up the story of Faded Photos.
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