Let's take a trip in the ol' Wayback Machine about a decade. When we look back at that time, it was the golden age of guitar-based pop/rock. Kelly Clarkson had just set the world on fire with her "Breakaway" album, and that sound was being hardened up by bands like Flyleaf and Paramore, who were just beginning their rise. Strong women backed by rock bands were preparing to dominate the airwaves, and it couldn't have been a better time to be listening if you were a fan of the mixture of pop and rock. Then, over the following years, that sound burned out, to the point where it seems like a genre fossilized in amber, only extracted by anthropologists to be documented in textbooks.
But every once in a while a band will come along to remind us of what is possible in the world of pop, and to light a fire under us. In 2016, that band is Shiverburn.
Kelly Clarkson sold ten million copies of "Breakaway", and it's the best comparison I can come up with for "Road To Somewhere". These dozen tracks fit that mold of sweet pop melody bolstered by slick rock guitars, and they do so with the same candy-coated sheen that topped the charts. Shiverburn has created the most relentlessly catchy pop/rock album I've heard in several years. From top to bottom, this record hits you with one uppercut of addictive pop after another, but always retains enough crunch to appeal to rock fans. The blend is strikingly perfect.
Make sure you give yourself more than the first track, to experience this album properly. The opening number, "Sick Of Waiting", is the worst song on the album, which is saying something, because it's a damn solid modern rock track. The only thing I can say about it is that it doesn't really fit with the rest of the album, which pulls back on the modern rock vibe for more classic guitar pop, which just takes things to another level.
From "Mistake" to "Hear Me out" to "Fighters" to the absolutely incredible "Burned Alive", every single track here is burnished with the kind of big pop hook that the army of songwriters behind today's radio hits wish they could come up with. For forty minutes, we're taken on a ride with some of the most immediately enjoyable music you'll hear this year. The band is tight and polished, but the star of the show is without a doubt Sanne Heuyerjans. Her voice has the right amount of spark to carry her energy, and her melodies are flat-out incredible. Just with this album, she's accomplished more than many of the women in the rock scene who get all of the attention. Yes, what she does here is that impressive.
Really, there aren't enough things I can say to express just how tight the songwriting on this album is, other than to tell you that you need to track this down and give it a listen if you've ever liked what pop music used to be. You won't regret it. "Road To Somewhere" came out of nowhere, but it speaks to the part of me that originally fell in love with music, and it's going to wind up being one of my favorite records of the year. This is that good.