Creating music for roughly a decade, Charlotte reggae-rock quartet Bums Lie releases its sophomore studio effort as a seven-song EP clocking in at just under 25 minutes.
"Uptown is burning down, and I'm laughing like a clown/ the walls between us are coming down," Cullen West sings on "Uptown," what could easily be an anthem for the recent Occupy movement. The deeper meaning is laid over reggae-tinged music that's much more Sublime or Pepper than Culture or Bob Marley. But that's not to say it's all heavy in subject matter, either. The band unleashes a bit of its humorous side — self-explanatory with the song "Do You Wanna Fuck?"
"Breakthrough" is presented in a laid-back, stoner-style Marley haze as a trumpet creates a bit of ska accompaniment instead of sending it into a frenzy a la Fishbone or Goldfinger. As for the song's keyboard outro, Ray Manzarek might consider it copyright infringement. The band strays into Coldplay's "Clocks" territory behind the driving piano on "Start All Over," one of its more radio-ready tunes. Bums Lie later finds an edge to their sonic delivery with the schizophrenic "Long Way Home." The song starts out kicking back on a beach with a Corona and lime, but, as the tempo kicks up, the band discovers its Pennywise side while sending its lyrical content in a simpler direction. The brief solo interludes here would be better served in the live setting.
Bums Lie uses It's Not a Disease to define itself within the rock-reggae borders balancing speed with relaxation and meaning with simplicity. They're not breaking new ground, but they've got some solid footing where they stand.
They'll celebrate the album's release at the Chop Shop on April 27.