Summerlin – You Can’t Burn Out If You’re Not On Fire

By Tom Aylott

Anyone familiar with the UK pop punk scene should hopefully be familiar with the Summerlin boys already. They’ve been stalwarts of the Yorkshire alternative scene since 2008 and their big pop hooks and shiny American sound have slowly but surely been converting the fans behind the scenes.

This self-produced debut album is something that you’ll immediately want to love. A hugely amiable bunch with an irresistibly cheeky Northern-ness that shines through amongst the veneer of bouncing US pop punk riffs, Summerlin have certainly honed what they do to a well rehearsed point. In a live setting they excel, and front man Drew Lawson’s command of the songs translates well to record here. Unfortunately the decision to self produce this album could end up throwing a spanner in the works. At a point in their career where the band really need to excel to break through into the mainstream as they so deserve to, the production here just doesn’t feel up to scratch. The songs don’t feel like they’ve been given proper justice, and even with the expert mixing and mastering skills of Pelle Henricsson (Refused, Entombed, In Flames), the end result feels confused and a little flat.

There’s absolutely no doubt that Summerlin can pen a great tune and there are some incredible songs on this album that stand toe to toe with the best that UK pop punk has to offer, with tracks like opener ‘Let It Go’ and the slow jam of ‘Easy On The Eyes’ even nipping at the heels of US counterparts. ‘You Can’t Burn Out If You’re Not On Fire’ is an album that’s willing you every step of the way to get on board and enjoy the ride, but there’s a niggling feeling that it’s just not living up to its full potential.

Undoubtedly a valuable addition to the UK touring and recording circuit of fresh and exciting new bands, it proves to be seen whether this album will have quite the impact that it deserves to. Whatever you say about the production, the fact remains – Summerlin know how to write a damn good pop song.


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