Burn The Louvre are a Canadian indie rock duo based in Hamilton, Ontario, and consisting of Jordan Speare (vocals, guitar, ukulele, drums & percussion) and Sean Cooper (guitar/vocals). I first featured them on this blog this past April, when I included one of their songs “Driving in the Rain” in a Fresh New Tracks post. I provided some background about how the act began as a duo consisting of Jordan and his brother Dylan, and released two EPs in 2014 and 2017, But by 2018, Burn the Louvre became Jordan’s solo project, at which time he began work on a full-length album Silhouettes with the help of his friend Andrew Billone, of indie rock band Silvertone Hills, on lead guitar and bass. The album was recorded, mixed & mastered by engineer/producer Mickey Ellsworth, who also played synthesizers and additional percussion, and sang backing vocals.
Rather serendipitously, after he and Mickey finished recording Silhouettes in late 2018, Jordan received an email from guitarist Sean Cooper, in response to an old “musicians wanted” ad he’d forgotten to take down. The two immediately hit it off, and began jamming together on the already-recorded songs. Jordan recalls “The way he was able to come up with his own unique leads to songs that were already recorded, giving them different nuances while maintaining the vibe of each song…I mean, I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad practice. I felt this was a perfect opportunity to re-imagine Burn The Louvre as a duo and I am very happy he wanted to be a part of this.”
In early 2022, they decided to finally release Silhouettes, initially as 11 separate singles at the rate of one song per month over a period of 11 months, beginning in January with “Wish We Were”. They ended with “Honolulu”, which dropped simultaneously with the full album on November 29th. The songs, all of which were written by Jordan, explore the emotional minefield of young romantic love and relationships with extensive, relatable lyrics, delivered in his laid-back conversational singing style, and accompanied by catchy melodies and fine guitar work. Burn the Louvre’s music style is hard to classify, but can best be described as a pleasing and eclectic blend of punk, pop, rock’n’roll, singer-songwriter and folk.
The title track “Silhouettes” is one of more melodically interesting, starting off with an energetically-strummed folk guitar that’s soon joined by a tasty bass groove. The song seems to end at around 1:46 minutes, then starts up again and continues for 30 seconds until it seems to end yet again, only to start back up at a slightly slower pace. Jordan has an interesting sing-song vocal style, with an offbeat sensual drawl that’s quite endearing. Here he emphatically croons the lyrics about a doomed love affair: “Silhouettes in the yellow moon. Fell a little too hard and they split in two. Raw, a little out of tune. Beautiful and broken, but try not to swoon. Oh you…was disinterested until I heard her say ‘So nice to finally meet you’. Autumn eyes and sweet perfume. My heart might’ve skipped just a beat or two. That little black dress and those ruby shoes. Okay…was all that I could say. I sense there’s heartache on the way.“
On “Wish We Were“, Jordan wistfully sings of a simpler, more innocent time when he was younger and things didn’t seem so heavy and problematic: “Well sometimes, I wish that we were younger. Turn nineteen in the early summer, with nothing but blue skies and moonshine spilling outside on a Wednesday night. Alone in the dark, such a beautiful sight. If only sometimes. But if we’d met before. Would you still be knocking on my door if you lived down the street? Would you just want to be friends with me? I’m wishing I could have the time back that I borrowed. Yesterdays are overrated, show me the tomorrows.” I love the song’s upbeat bouncy groove and jangly guitars.
On the lovely ballad “Driving In The Rain”, Jordan sings of driving through a rainstorm to see his girlfriend, with whom he has a troubled relationship: “I’m 15 minutes out, the sky is darker than her hair. And all Beck’s “Modern Guilt” has got me way too self-aware. The weather’s getting worse, man it’s really coming down. It’s just the second verse, but I think I’m gunna drown. Conventional conversation is ringing in my ears. I want to kiss her in the rain, so I can’t see the tears.” And “Lost With You” has a retro early 60s “malt shop” vibe, with a fun rockabilly quality in the guitars.
One of my favorites is “Nice Guy“, a lively post-punk rocker that has Jordan lamenting about how his good manners seem to go unappreciated by a girl he likes: “Really think that you don’t like me. Well, I’m sorry if I’m just too polite. Really wish that I could be an asshole. Blame my Mum, she’s the one who raised me right. But I’m sick of being the nice guy. I’ll give you my coat when it’s cold outside. Yeah, I’m so sick of always being the nice guy. It’s a phase I still haven’t got over, I’ll try, yeah I’ll try.”
His clever songwriting is strongly evident on “Easy“, a song about how love and relationships could be easy and stress-free, but we often have a way of over-complicating things: “Well, it could all just be so easy. Uncomplicated, apparent, simple too. It could all just be so easy. I’m so easy, yeah but so are you. Open my mouth, make a fool of myself. Could almost hear her falling back in love with someone else. You’re my last cigarette, it’s too bad for my health. Your love is cancerous and I’m just trying to kill myself.” The jangly and shimmery guitar work is terrific, accompanied by nice bass groove and subtle keyboards and percussion.
“Dumb” is a rousing rock’n’roll gem, with twangy guitars and a catchy, toe-tapping beat. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics speak of wishing his ex-girlfriend ill: “I’d rather see you under the sea than see those big green eyes staring back at me. I’ll give your best to your new boyfriend, and let him know that he won’t ever see your face again“, but then admitting his threats were meant in jest: “I’d never hurt you, honestly. I’d never hurt you purposely, You’re lucky I’m not as dumb as I thought I was.” And on the sweet jangle pop song “Hey Stacey“, he sings of how he loves and misses her: “Hey Stacey, is there something wrong? You know I’d do my very best to make it right. I really thought that you might like this song. It’s kinda dumb, but it’s the best I’ve got tonight./ Trying so hard not to blow it. But has anybody ever told you you’re beautiful, but you don’t even know it?“
“Alison” is another sweet tune, this time with a bit of a doo wop vibe and featuring added vocals by Stephanie Deshane. The poignant lyrics speak of two wounded souls, seeking a bit of love and solace in each other’s arms, even if only for a night: “And Alison, you know I’ve been struggling trying to put my life together. She laughs and says, ‘mine’s not much better’. But Alison, I want to thank you for listening. Now, she’s not likely to stay, but I know I won’t soon forget her.”
The final track “Honolulu” is a deeply personal one for Jordan. He explains: “‘Honolulu” is a song I wrote for my first girlfriend Gillian for her birthday. We’d always joked about running away to Honolulu one day, so I wrote this song about the idea of doing just that. To be honest, I really wasn’t the best boyfriend, but I did some things right and this song is definitely one of them. After opening the album with ‘Silhouettes’, which is a song about the aftermath of our relationship from my perspective, I felt it was fitting to close the album with ‘Honolulu’, a song about when times were great.” Appropriately, the song opens with a Hawaiian ukulele riff, accompanied by subtle bass notes. Halfway into the track, the tempo ramps up to a jaunty, head-bopping groove, with a strummed guitar joining the ukulele and bass while Jordan croons “Well I can’t say, I’ve felt this way before. My heart is on fire, yeah. It’s not a holiday, this is a getaway. Gill, hop on the plane and we’ll leave right now for Honolulu… feels so far away.”
Silhouettes is an enjoyable album from start to finish, filled with charming songs dealing with the ins and outs of love in a lighthearted, realistic way. Jordan and Andrew’s guitar work is terrific throughout, and the songs are all expertly-crafted and engineered, giving the album an outstanding quality of sound. Nice work guys!
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