Chase Burnett’s Latest EP is About Finding Yourself and Emerging Still Alive

Chase Burnett’s Latest EP is About Finding Yourself and Emerging Still Alive

On August 14th, Texas-native Chase Burnett released an entirely Kickstarter-funded EP written for those impassioned by self-discovery and the unending desire to find more in life.

For fans of twangy southern rock merging with indie hometown nostalgia, look no further than Chase Burnett. The Austin-native emerged on August 14th with a four-track EP, entitled Still Alive and funded entirely by a Kickstarter campaign. In his own words, the tracks “are primarily about a boy coming to certain conclusions about himself that he isn’t necessarily sure how to feel about”. The album sonically carries the listener through the long and arduous task of cherry-picking those personal qualities you find yourself aligned with. Burnett’s interpretation highlights the complexities of this process, and reminds us that while the journey of self-discovery is often bittersweet, the aftermath is amongst the greatest things of beauty we’re privileged to witness in this life.

The EP’s title, Still Alive, may be a reference to the resilience in self-discovery,  or perhaps a resurrection of Burnett’s original sound after an experimental departure on his debut LP, I didn’t think i was ready. The acoustic guitar-driven discography Burnett had been cultivating since his 2018 debut completely contrasted with the 2019 project, which delved into heavy synth, funk, and trap beats underscoring distorted lo-fi vocals. I’ve never been one to discourage experimental ventures in sonography, especially when that endeavor highlights a more successful avenue, but with 14 comparable tracks fusing to form one wall of electronica and an instrumental focus muddling the thematic sentiments Burnett so expertly conveys, this sonic revival seen on Still Alive is much more appreciated.

Opening with “Prettiest Boy in Austin”, Burnett provides  a potentially autobiographical recount of being infatuated with someone to the point of delusion surrounding their character. Haunting moments in minor coupled with droning/pitched backing vocals sound like they’re straight off of an Alex G record, almost to a fault. Even so, as an opening track “Prettiest Boy in Austin” is perhaps Burnett’s most prolific showcase of instrumentation. Distinguishable layers of fuzz and twang breathe charm into the acoustic textures as an occasional unexpected electronic element adds even greater depth – all creating an ideal bed for husky vocals.

“Why am I always laughing at shit that’s not funny
Why do I try to make you feel like you’re the funny guy
You’re not the funny guy
You’re just the prettiest boy in Austin”

“No Good” is a stunning take on the classic tribulation of unrequited love, featuring considerable Elliot Smith influence with saccharine vocal quality. Rich vignettes illustrate the intimate moments between friends that tread the line of ambiguity, while a gut wrenching refrain laments, “I have so much love to give / But you won’t take it from me”. “The Goblin” offers this project a welcome lift in mood while most adeptly dealing with themes of self-examination and discovery. Laidback melodies reflect the stupor of waking up after a night of drinking and reexamining all of the decisions that landed you there. The refrain, “I think I’ll call in sick today” normalizes not really knowing what you’re doing, while giving yourself the space (and cutting yourself the slack) to figure it out for yourself. Other moments of this track depict surrendering to your innermost desires of self-expression (“Shave my head and eat some cake”) and blowing off your responsibilities.

“I got a shift at six o’clock
But I’m headed west and I can’t stop
And there’s no telling where I’ll end up tonight
And my gut feeling tells me that that’s alright
So I think I’ll call in sick today”

Closing track “Fried Okra” was released as a single leading up to Still Alive’s release and described by Burnett as “a sweet song about my family and the first six years of my life”. It’s on this track that we see just how clever Burnett’s storytelling capability is. Paired with just a plucked acoustic guitar, the lyrical intimacy is able to shine through with a collection of quirky familial anecdotes. Amongst those is a retelling of the birth of Burnett’s brother in Missouri, and his father’s attempt to cover the bed with dirt so he could be “born on Texas soil” (and that’s 4/4 for Texas references on this EP!). It’s a quiet conclusion to a project abundant in intricate instrumentation and skillful production (thanks to producer Tyler Horn), but highlights the intensely raw talent and lyricism Burnett has always been capable of providing. Still Alive represents as much of a discovery in sound as it represents a discovery of self, and Chase Burnett has absolutely caught our attention.

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