Q - 5/01, p.1373 stars out of 5
- "...Broadens the noise palette but maintains the wry blackness..."
Alternative Press - 1/95, p.66
"...This collection of six majestic and assured songs benefits from great sensitivity, an engaging and individual songwriting style and excellent sonic texture..."
The Wire - 5/01, p.68
"...More like the Smog which people who don't like Smog expect to hear...if Callahan wrote a book of short stories I'd read it; but it's also a relief when someone else - the sweet voiced Cynthia Dall here- takes the mic..."
NME (Magazine) - 11/12/94, p.44
7 - Very Good - "...Over the course of a meagre 20 minutes, [Smog's Bill Callahan] creates an alternative listening environment. The mood here is everything, and said mood is very definitely misery..."
Smog: Bill Callahan.
Additional personnel: Cynthia Dall (vocals, guitar); Steven Zdybel (violin); Kim Osterwalder (cello); Ron Burns (drums).
The dramatic minor-key electric guitar riffs that drive this six-song EP bring to mind Neil Young covering the Ennio Morricone catalog. Smog mainman Bill Callahan's usual mix of self-deprecation and wistful regret is given more force than usual by the dirty, swirling sounds conjured on BURNING KINGDOM. The female lead vocal and pretty acoustic arrangement on "Renee Died 1:45" belie the song's dark subject matter.
The ambling, poetic "Drunk on the Stars" is driven by a combination of guitar feedback and rudimentary piano that keeps with the lyrical theme of reeling alienation. The almost middle-Eastern feel of songs like "My Family" and "My Shell" adds an air of mystery to the already brooding soundscape. Mark Eitzel's sad-sack songpoetry continues to be a valid touchstone for Callahan's thoughtful, introspective work.