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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.

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Horse Jumper of Love - So Divine Music Album Reviews

On their second album, the Boston slowcore trio’s pensive, downtempo rock has grown tighter, clearer, and at times brighter.

Minutes into Horse Jumper of Love’s second record, So Divine, it’s obvious why the Boston trio opened for slowcore legends Duster on their 2018 reunion tour. Both bands have an affinity for allowing the space between thoughts to germinate, until a molehill-sized musing becomes an impenetrable, towering glacier. But Horse Jumper of Love are not copying their predecessors as much as making similar ideas their own.


Three years after their self-titled debut, the band’s pensive, downtempo rock has grown tighter, clearer, and at times—dare I say—brighter. Opening tracks “Airport” and “Volcano” begin where Horse Jumper of Love left off, crawling forward with unhurried momentum and quietly seething until their layers of heavy rhythms become unbearable. “Everything is freaking me out,” Dimitri Giannopoulos grouses on “Volcano” with an almost humorous nonchalance.

Giannopoulos’ lyrics are impressionistic and threadbare fragments: plants splattered with yogurt, Dixie cups of rainwater, fingers stained by cherry pulp. Like another musician who found inspiration in gallery visitors, the standout “Poison” compiles observations from Giannopoulos’ time as a museum security guard into a surreal domestic drama (“I opened my legs so you can crawl through,” he sings, channeling a very patient father). Giannopoulos maintains that there’s no single objective meaning behind his lyrics, which makes the unambiguous couplet that comprises the subsequent “Cops” somewhat startling: “All the cops burst into tears of joy/When it’s announced we’re in a police state.” It’s an unexpected moment of candor from a band more comfortable with opacity, and as the song’s heavy instrumental outro gives way to the otherworldly wooziness of “Aliens,” its bluntness feels out of place.

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These songs rely on sedate, hypnotic repetition, and to succeed they require a tether, something to keep them from dissolving completely. While “Airport” and “Volcano” sustain themselves with incremental progression, songs like “Aliens” and “John Song” never fully emerge from the lo-fi haze. So Divine is at its strongest when moving forward, as on the standout “Ur Real Life,” which seesaws between distortion and restraint. “I feel OK/Under your real life,” Giannopoulos bashfully profeses, before the trio surge once more.

“Nature,” the penultimate track, is a welcome departure from So Divine’s slow burn. Lush, twangy, and a tad bluesy, the song detonates into a sudden fray of noise and concludes with an understated profundity: “It was too visceral/I don’t know/If you’ll ever see it clearly.” Many slowcore bands’ minimalist lyrics walk a fine line between the heavy-handed and the abstract. Though Horse Jumper of Love occasionally brush against both extremes, they trudge on in search of balance.


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