The last three years have been a strange journey for Burning Hell singer Mathias Kom. In that time, the singer has gone from wowing critics to disappointing them to confusing them in as many records; in 2008, the singer announced his arrival with The Burning Hell with Happy Birthday and thrilled both audiences and critics with his unusually deadpan vocal delivery in songs that were both celebratory and macabre (check out the first tow installments of “Grave Situation”) AND re-validated the ukelele as an instrument for rock n' roll songwriting. That album remains an exciting listen for all of those reasons. The excitement tat Happy Birthday generated was tested when Baby came along a year later and played the exact same trick again – right down to continuing the central song, “Grave Situation”i – and by the time This Charmed Life came along in 2010, well, the nicest thing to say about it is that it was a good decision on both Kom's and weewerk's part to keep the album limited to a digital wide release; that move saved a lot of waste. After such a seemingly rapid progression downhill, the question of whether listeners might have gotten to the party too late or whether they'd been outright duped by a flashy first big bang became an increasingly valid one but, joyously, Flux Capacitor does the job for which it was intended and brings The Burning Hell (and listeners) back to the good times and lets them roll again.
The party's already in full swing as Kom re-introduces himself in front of what sounds like a Creole klezmer party band (yeah) on the appropriately entitled “My Name Is Mathias,” and listeners will know and be able to feel the change in attitude from This Charmed Life and Baby; the kind of macabre festivities that drove Happy Birthday are back, but (unlike the two intervening albums) it doesn't just feel like a paltry re-enactment of the same show; the sounds are fresh here, and Kom himself comes across as more vibrant in spite of the hues surrounding him. The energy doesn't dip as the singer starts rifling through old issues of TV Guide and remembering movies from the Eighties (including, yes, Back To The Future)in “Nostalgia.” Those songs set the mood for Flux Capacitor and, whether intentional or not, really color the whole album – even at its darkest (like on “Like An Anvil,” “Report Card” and “One Works Days, One Works Nights”), the album still seems a little cute and a little jovial. That constantly light-hearted vibe serves as an excellent foil to the lyric sheets (a personal favorite is, “I suffered from a stroke – of genius/I awoke to find my stupid side paralysed/But Albert E. Said we are all equally foolish before God – and equally wise”) and the unfailingly peculiar songwriting to make the album a joy in the same way Tom Waits' Swordfish Trombones and John Hammond's Wicked Grin were; like those albums, Flux Capacitor feels a little out of place and a little out of step, but that will come to be exactly what listeners love about it rather than being the thing that causes them to scoff at it.
Taken as a whole and stacked against the last two albums Mathias Kom and The Burning Hell released, Flux Capacitor is refreshing because it doesn't seek to over-extend the inherent oddness of both the group and its singer – is just presents the weirdness (as Happy Birthday did) for listeners to take or leave as they please. That sort of self-assured, confident undertone is this band's secret weapon; here's hoping that they realize it this time and don't stand down or try to pander to anything again anytime soon.
-Bill Adams, Groundcontrolmag.com
buy the album here: http://www.zunior.com/product_info.php?products_id=3228