Alternative rock – despite the irony of the name in present times – is hardy dead, and if you’re looking for hard evidence of this, I seriously recommend giving Blueburst a listen sometime. In their rookie album Significance, this band comprised of Craig Douglas Miller and Marty Willson-Piper of All About Eve/Noctorum/The Church fame, doesn’t just try their hand at the modern alternative rock model; they try to redefine the parameters of a classic genre and demonstrate an honest poetic wit that is more likely than not dissimilar to anything else you’ll hear coming out of the underground at the moment. Significance starts strong with the blustery lead single “Vanish,” an evolved “Executioner’s Song,” virtuous concept rock in “Senseless” and finally the bold “Supernova,” all before descending into a second act that is best described as an indie aficionado’s perfect fall treat.
In the latter half of Significance, we find songs like the tension-building “Bravado,” “Come Alive” and its sequel “Finito,” but we also find a daring escape from the implied standard in “Kick My Tires,” one of the record’s most emotional moments in my opinion. Blueburst pulls out all the stops here both in their lyrical content and the texture of their instrumentals, which wrap around us tightly but stop short of suffocating us in their rumble. The melodies are nearly out of control in “Amplify Me” and “Senseless,” but they don’t drown us in grandiosity. You can tell that a lot of time and patience was put into recording this material, as these arrangements are anything but simple.
The production quality that we see here is stellar from one end of the track listing to the other, and I like the fact that neither Marty Willson-Piper nor Craig Douglas Miller utilized a singular style of arranging for every song included on Significance. “Vanish” has a completely different tone to it than “Kick My Tires” and “Executioner’s Song,” and it isn’t exclusively because of the structural differences between the tracks. Blueburst went out of their way to deliver us an erudite collection of songs here, and their efforts were well worth it, as tracks like “Bravado” and “Supernova” stand out as among the most charismatic and formidable of any alternative rock numbers out of the underground this year.
As lyrically provocative as it is at times defiant and compositionally inviting, Significance is an enormous breakthrough debut for the intrepidly talented Blueburst, and though the American rock scene has been plagued with a lot of over-the-top surrealism in its output as of the last three years or so, the underground has just produced a legitimate force to be reckoned with in this band. There are admittedly a lot of aesthetical layers to dig through in this record, but make no mistakes; Significance is just as appealing to occasional rockers as it is to hardcore fans like myself. This is a big moment for Blueburst, and I think they’re going to see a lot of critical acclaim for their efforts thanks to the quality of the content we find in every one of these nine original songs.