The Burning of Rome
Year of the Ox (Surfdog)

There are great live bands, and there are bands who make great albums—and the two don't cross over as often as you'd expect. In the studio, an artist has access to a wide array of equipment that can make a recording sound a specific way, which can be extremely difficult to replicate live—not to mention the hassle of having to bring more equipment on stage. Meanwhile, an intense live dynamic can be tough to capture in a recording. Even the best live acts sometimes can't fit all that lightning into such a little bottle.

The Burning of Rome have a reputation for being a great live band, and they live up to it every time, with an infectious energy and larger-than-life songs that practically demand to be heard in person. To date, their recordings haven't quite lived up to their live performances. They've been good, certainly—especially 2012's With Us—but something still felt missing.

Such is not the case with the band's fourth album, Year of the Ox. It's an ambitious and sprawling album, as big as the band's ever sounded. From the opening rise and eventual, explosive climax of the title track, The Burning of Rome send a clear message that they've graduated to another level. 

To be clear, Year of the Ox still sounds like The Burning of Rome—they've just amplified and enhanced their strengths and embraced a much brighter and expansive studio sound in the process. After the intense rush of the title track, the band proves its mettle at melancholy art pop on "God of Small Things," which is built on big, gothic hooks and dreamy effects—and the occasional addition of vocoder. 

There are still some oddball flights of fancy, like the spaghetti-western rock of "Terrible Tales from Tocqueville" and the sea-shanty prog rock of "Space Age Stockholm Syndrome." But all it takes is a spin of "Better Than He" or closing track "Animal" (featuring The Melvins' Dale Crover) to hear the kind of power the band wields. I'll bet these songs sound great live. 

Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28