1A Amhurst Rd, Hackney E8 1LL
£12 adv. (STBF)
Sat 10 Dec 2016
THE BURNING HELL is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and has been on the road in one form or another since 2007, playing everywhere from festivals to bars to living rooms – and once even a mental asylum in rural France. The band has garnered acclaim for their hyperactive live shows and their caustic yet sincere lyrics, believing as they do that songs about the inevitability of death can also be fun to dance to. On occasion, Mathias and clarinetist Ariel Sharratt also go on the road as a duo, but more often they’re joined by bassist Nick Ferrio, drummer Jake Nicoll and guitarist Darren Browne.
The seventh Burning Hell album, Public Library is a collection of eight long-form stories, drawn from different sections of the bookshelf of the brain. A murder mystery rubs shoulders with a biography, while a romance leans against a prison diary. There is a killer priest, a nameless band lost in Yorkshire, and Elvis and Michael Jackson moonwalking their way into space and/or global annihilation (depending on how you interpret the ending). As always, despair and hope go hand in hand: an aspiring novelist gives up his dreams after reading about Melville’s depression, but embraces failure as a new kind of freedom; a bashful soul with a dentist’s appointment finds true love and rejects non-fiction. Mathias’ songwriting has never been wordier, the stories never stranger, and the band never louder, but the essence of The Burning Hell remains the same: life is not really so bad, as long as you can laugh a little and you have something decent to read.
Benedict Benjamin is Ben Rubinstein, formerly of The Mariner’s Children and Peggy Sue (Wichita). His debut album ‘Night Songs’ is a collection of timeless compositions recorded in a series of churches, bedrooms and kitchens across London and Kent with producer Dan Blackett (Landshapes, Bella Union).
Ben is first and foremost a songwriter versed in the classical traditions of the form, capable of crafting both operatic crescendo and lullabylike stillness shot through with the heartbreaking swoon of Roy Orbison, the soothing harmonies of the Everly Brothers and the honesty of Jeff Tweedy. His songs undercut the dreamlike beauty of early 60s pop music with lyrics both frank and poetic, creating a powerful Lynchian duality that makes the heart swell and the head spin.