Summerlin rock the Barfly and tell us about their new album
Taking to the stage at the Camden Barfly, Leeds-based Punk four-piece Summerlin are two dates into their maiden UK tour, performing all-new material. The fans’ main reaction so far? “Shock!”, deadpans bassist Ben Jackson; “but in a good way – I think our new music’s a lot more melodic and powerful than before.”
Spectacularly-fringed lead singer Drew Lawson adds: “As we’ve grown up, we’ve realised that the world maybe isn’t as great a place as we thought, and that’s reflected in our songs. But we’re still huge fans of Pop music.”
The results are there for all to see on their upcoming debut album You Can’t Burn Out If You’re Not On Fire, produced by the band and featuring an uncompromising, Albini-esque turn on the mixing desk by legendary Swedish Punk guru Pelle Henricsson.
“We worked with a few producers, who tried to add synths and stuff like that where they weren’t needed, before we eventually decided to concentrate on getting it done ourselves in our house”, says Lawson. “I went to Sweden with our manager to oversee the mixing, which was great because it’s the home of loads of Punk bands that we really respect – that and the beautiful scenery and women!”
The shape of Punk to come is certainly alive-and-well with Summerlin: tonight’s show positively fizzes with an energy and relentless intensity that puts a rather damp and subdued Sunday night crowd to shame.
Jackson half-jokes that they’re playing all their songs at double-speed tonight so they can finish on time and avoid a parking fine, and throughout the concert, they eschew conventional tropes like verses and choruses, instead just getting steadily faster and louder before collapsing under their own momentum, leading on into the next track with barely a pause for breath.
Despite the frenzy, the complexity of the band’s sound comes across relatively well. Pitched somewhere between Hundred Reasons and a more euphoric Cave In, nearly every line is harmonized by the front three of Lawson, Jackson and guitarist Roo Buxton, and there are almost too many time signatures and riffs to keep track of.
Glibly dedicated by Jackson to fellow admirers of Indiana Jones, potential single and self-confessed “favourite Summerlin song” United Divided threatens to blow a hole in the back wall of the venue, before the new album’s riff-laden title track brings the show to a close in an ungodly racket.
When asked about Summerlin’s immediate plans, the reply is to “go out on tour and never come back!” They are due to hit Doncaster, Manchester and Glasgow in the next few days, which is hardly a Dylan-esque Never-Ending-Tour scenario, but if the drive and energy demonstrated tonight is anything to go by, you can expect to see them tearing up a venue near you very shortly.
Watch the video for You Can’t Burn Out if You’re Not on Fire here: