For well over a decade the Hudson Falcons have been pounding out some of the best straight forward rock ‘n’ roll this side of The Devil Dogs, Stiff Little Fingers, and The Rolling Stones. Hailing from New Jersey, the Falcons have toured the world, released numerous singles and split CDs, and five full-length albums (the most recent, Dancing Underneath the Moonlight, was released in May and is available through iTunes, Interpunk, and I Hate People Records). Released in 2008 on the band’s own Consiglieri Records (MySpace), Desire to Burn was the band’s fourth full-length release and picked up where their third album La Famiglia left off, with excellent working class rock ‘n’ roll.
The album opens with the title track, a song that has been around in the Falcons repertoire for as long as the band has been together, and the intensity never let’s up from there. “Desire to Burn” is a song about going through life and never giving up that need to keep going or to do better. Next is the almost funky “I Just Want to Dance,” a song about losing yourself in music. The albums third track, “Lonely Girl,” is one of its best. The song is an excellent, Stones like number about a girl that finds her strength in music despite being alone. In some ways this song reminds me of the Velvet Undergrounds’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” “Get Something Done” is an attack on those who do nothing but bitch and moan. Next is a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Night.” The Boss was and is a huge influence on Falcons’ leader Mark Linskey and this isn’t the first time the band has taken a stab at a Springsteen classic (check out their blisteringly intense version of “Open All Night” on For Those Whose Hearts and Souls are True). “One Thing” is a song about life on the road. Next is a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil.” “Fight to Live” is a song about the need for people to take care of each other and fighting against the forces that tear communities apart. Up next is one of my all time favorite Hudson Falcons songs, “Drinkin’ with the Band.” This song appeared on one of the band’s early seven inch records and I have requested it ever single time that I’ve seen them play live. It’s a great number about cutting loose and letting off stress listening to live music. The song is ridiculously catchy and a lot of fun to see live. “We’ll Survive” is an ode to small businesses and the American worker. “Lost Soul in the Rain” is about keeping a hold of your integrity, heart, and spirit through the pain of life, even when giving in would be easier. Next is a cover of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes’ “Got to Be a Better Way Home.” The album closes out with “Back Out on the Road” another anthem about life on the road.
What makes Desire to Burn work is that is showcases the fact that the Hudson Falcons are way more than a street punk band – a label often placed on the band because they gained prominence in the late ‘90s street punk scene and released their first two albums on GMM Records. Like La Famiglia, this record is a rock ‘n’ roll record that shows punk influences but has more in common with the work of Springsteen and the Stones than Cock Sparrer or Stiff Little Fingers. Granted one can make an excellent argument that the lines of distinction between these artists are fuzzy at best, but often the diehard fans see clear breaks between punk and rock and oi. A band like the Hudson Falcons and a record like Desire to Burn makes those lines exceedingly blurry and shows that great music is just that, great music, genre be damned.