People will tell you, if you ask politely, that the Florida panhandle has more in common with neighboring Alabama than it does with the glitchy, glamorous southern part of the state. Around Tallahassee, it's cowboys and Country music. And if you're talkin' about gut-bustin' Country, the feeling ain't too far from Rock.
There is a term used in those parts, "sucker fishing." No, it doesn't mean finding somebody to finance an indie release. Rather, it's wading into the water during the evening hours and catching fish with your bare hands. It was on one of those expeditions that Blountstown (outside of Tallahasse, on I-20) natives Neil Alday (guitar/vocals/songwriter), Dusty Price (bass/vocals) and Brandon Bittner (drums) realized, after an impromptu singing session by the campfire, that starting a group might not be a bad idea. The later addition of Chris Cobb (lead guitar/vocals) rounded out the line-up.
The group peppered Blountstown with their homemade CDs before catching producer John Kurzweg's attention. Kurzweg, who'd made himself a very big fish in a very big pond, having produced Creed and Puddle of Mudd, landed a production deal with Elektra Records. Socialburn's '03 release "Where You Are" was his first project under the deal.
Socialburn plays a muscular post-Grunge Rock that is not without appeal but not all that exceptional. Make no mistake, "Where You Are" is a strong debut, it's just that it has all been done before (especially the quiet verse followed by a thunderous chorus). Socialburn ranges from the dense opening track "Break Back" to the mid-tempo acoustic oriented "Everyone." In between, the single "Down" is an uptempo delight with a 'games you play" theme while "I'm Happy" is a lean, appealing Rocker.
While containing enough Rockers to satisfy, it's interesting how they're laid out on the album. On numerous CDs, the energy starts to drop by the eighth or ninth track. The last track is often some lame, acoustic toss-off that should have never seen the light of day. Socialburn takes a different tack. Opening with force and power, the album noticeably mellows on the middle tracks before "Vacancy," "Pretend" and "Stacy" bring it to a high energy close. That isn't much of an innovation but at least it's something.