Over a series of previous EPs, The Bad Doctors formulated a collection of addicting new wave-influenced tunes with a heavy nod to Devo. The synth-driven sound that got me hooked on them is still present, but where records like the “Twilight of the Idols” b/w “Spit It Out” 7” had a manic exuberance to them, Burning City feels darker. The exuberance is still there hiding beneath the surface, but it is tempered by a sense of gravitas, as in songs like “Departure (Letter by Letter),” and the title track. Much of this gravitas is carried vocally, with Matt McDermott delivering his finest vocal performance of any Doctors recording to date. Musically, he and the rest of the band are equally on point. The trio, Mcdermott (vocals, guitar), Luke Nally (bass, synthesizers and electronics), and Dan Shields (drums), have increased the dosage of both songwriting and musicianship on this record. The result is not only some of the most nuanced tracks in the Doctors catalog, but a host of catchy earworms sure to infect your brain with contagious tunes. While three of the songs on Burning City appeared on the previous Re Animate EP, as a whole, this album feels like a new evolution for the Bad Doctors.
–Paul J. Comeau (FDH, [email protected])