When rock purity meets an enlightened sense of electronica the result is Burnside Project, a male trio based in Hoboken whose new album, The Finest Example Is You, demonstrates the re-affirmation of indie dance as a possibly valid genre. The group’s sophomore effort showcases a tighter collaboration in song-writing and instrumentation than their debut in 2003, The Networks, The Circuits, The Streams, The Harmonies, which featured Shannon McArdle from The Mendoza Line and emphasized greater lyricism and guitar within their songs than the current album’s atmospheric and tonal elements.
Originally, Milwaukee-native, Richard Jankovich, envisioned a fusion between “different styles deliberately, even if they clashed” when he started Burnside solely in 1999. Jankovich’s spectrum of influences include ‘80s new wave punk rock and euro pop (New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode), which turned industrial by the late ‘80s (NitzerEbb, KMFDM, Thrill Kill Kult). With an indie rock background from the early ‘90s under his belt, Jankovich rekindled an interest in electronic music when he moved to New York City in 1996, and began to incorporate trip hop, drum-n-bass and hip hop into his music as well. A “book-worm” lyricist, Jankovich teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Gerald Hammill (guitarist/keyboard) in 2001 and eventually Paul Searing (keyboard). Since, the band has enjoyed a series of commercial successes including features on The Medallion (starring Jackie Chan) and Queer As Folk for their song, “Cue the Pulse To Begin” – a synthesized rush of adrenaline. Burnside has also been sought by ad agencies in Japan and nominated by Cameron Crowe for the Short List award.
Despite commercial recognition, Burnside’s indie credibility lies in their ability to subtly balance guitar lyricism and instrumentation. Finest Example is a poppy drum-n-base project that includes a melting pot of elements. “And So It Goes” and “One to One” reverberates like a bop in sync, while the early ‘80s pop influence can be heard in “Just Drop Off” and “Cynical Weathers”. Jankovich moreover admits to themes of disillusionment and insane paranoia throughout his music, with additional influences by American authors and filmmakers - which in sum of sound and style can be translated affectionately into that Sixteen Candles-esque lad from high school who, in all the glory of his awkwardness, wins the Prom Queen in the end. Finest Example is a successful cohesion of admirable electronics with the sophisticatedly hopeful indie boy band. Maybe opposites can attract.