Fired Up


Now in their fourth decade of Hard Rocking, Swiss outfit SIDEBURN (not to be confused […]
By Chris Hicklin
July 4, 2022
Sideburn - Fired Up album cover

Now in their fourth decade of Hard Rocking, Swiss outfit SIDEBURN (not to be confused with the Swedish Stoners or French Death Metal acts of the same unlikely name) have racked up an impressive eight full length releases since their recording debut in 1997 as well as one compilation album. I will confess that I have not heard any of them, so this act is new to me. I suspect this will be the case for many as they have managed, until hitting no.77 on the Swiss chart with this release, only one previous appearance on any world chart with their 2011 release "Jail" which scaled the heady heights of no.81 on the Swiss album chart. So, it's probably fair to say that they aren't in it for the money.

Diving in, first impressions of opening track "Feel the Heat" are that this is very straightforward, unfussy Rock music. Roland Pierrehumbert has a slight nasal quality to his vocals, which immediately gives everything a bit of a Southern Rock feeling. The most obvious debt this track owes is to AC/DC, the boogie like guitar riff, and snarling overdriven tones conjure mental images of Angus Young hopping across a stage. The introduction to "Free Ride" for a moment makes me think we are just going to get a repetition of the first track, but this isn't the case as once the song gets going it has a much more 70s feel to it, with the well recorded backing vocals recalling a band like FREE. Maybe the clue was in the name.

Without entirely breaking the mould, "Sweet Obsession (Ride On)" tackles something slightly different once again. A slower, sleazier affair giving lots of space to the bass to drive the song along, as guitars throw out little licks to liven things up. A strong chorus with some gang vocals, and a slick guitar solo make this a satisfying number. "Bad Side of Town" goes straight for the blues, opening with a bit of soulful harmonica from vocalist Roland Pierrehumbert. It's not trying to do anything special, but what it does, it does well.

They go for something a bit traditional in "Standing in The Headlines" which has some dialled back elements of Hair Metal, mixed up with more bluesy Hard Rocking a la ROSE TATTOO. "Heading Down the Road 69" and "Devil in Me" are both mid-tempo stompers with a road movie feel, while "Restless Call" kicks things up a gear as the name might suggest with a relentlessly catchy grooving, jangling riff and a propulsive performance from drummer Lionel Blanc.

I found "Mystical Lady" to be a little uninspired and repetitive compared to some of the other material, similarly a little fatigue is setting in with "Die A Million Times" which plods along without really going anywhere new or interesting. Fortunately, along comes "Paid My Dues" to stir up a bit of excitement again with an energetic blast of Rock 'N Roll sounding a bit like one of the heavier Aussie Garage Rock outfits like JET. That just leaves "Tired of The Road" to close things out, it's another Hard Rocker but with a slightly wistful feel to the guitars and thoughtful lyrics to compliment this. It also features a killer guitar solo to take us to the finish line.

The production works well on this release, it is dry and uncomplicated giving space to each instrument, and the guitars are captured superbly. There's nothing drenched in reverb here, just crisp guitar tones, resonant drums, and tight powerful bass. Within a reasonably restrictive set of guidelines, the music manages to be surprisingly diverse with the band rattling through a variety of Mainstream Rock genres to great effect. For fans of simple, hardworking, down-to-earth Rocking, this album will impress.

8 / 10









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"Fired Up" Track-listing:

1. Feel the Heat
2. Free Ride
3. Sweet Obsession (Ride On)
4. Bad Side of Town
5. Standing in The Headlines
6. Heading Down the Road 69
7. Devil in Me
8. Restless Call
9. Mystical Lady
10. Die A Million Times
11. Paid My Dues
12. Tired of The Road

Sideburn Lineup:

Roland Pierrehumbert - Vocals, Harmonica
Mikael Riffart - Guitars
Sickyy Lyo - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Thierry Nydegger - Bass, Backing Vocals
Lionel Blanc - Drums, Backing Vocals

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