I remember the first time I heard `Bittersweet’ on the radio and thinking that this band, Fuel, may wind up being my new favorite band. It was just so infectious, such a great song. When I picked up `Sunburn’ I quickly realized that Fuel was not a one hit wonder either, and as many a fan can attest to, they only got better with age. Fuel reminds me of another radio friendly megaband, namely Nickelback. They came out with an album that was slightly under radar and then they released a single off their sophomore attempt that blew everyone away and made them research their roots. For Fuel that single was the popular `Hemorrhage’ but it’s on `Sunburn’ that we find some of Fuel’s greatest tracks to date. `Bittersweet’ is one of them, but there are others, many others.
I don’t think the name Fuel can be mentioned without the single `Shimmer’ mentioned, a single that went on to be one of their most popular. It’s one of those songs that always brings a smile to my face. I don’t think it’s possible to get sick of this song. The title track `Sunburn’ has a really nice feel to it. Much like `Shimmer’ it’s a slower paced song that relies heavily on Brett Scallions’ signature vocals. `Song for You’ follows this same formula of slowed down verses and uplifted chorus lines, while the closing track `Hideaway’ remains slow and almost stagnant through and through. I think it’s safe to say that `Hideaway’ fails to really impress me. It’s not terrible, but it’s not memorable, and I’m a firm believer in the fact that closing tracks need to be memorable. And what’s up with the mess that is `It’s Come to This’? I don’t even want to talk about this song.
Now, with all these slower paced tracks there are bound to be some `Bittersweet’ type songs burning up the track listing, and the opener `Untitled’ does just that, with blistering guitar work and gruff `edgy’ vocals. `New Thing’ has an upbeat feel to the track with a catchy and chant worthy chorus. The remaining three tracks are probably the best tracks on the album, full force and in your face. `Ozone’ has a strange verse and a killer bridge breakdown. `Mary Pretends’ is just blistering with a fast paced and intense chorus structure and `Jesus or a Gun’ is the track that made me worship this band for a spell. It’s the heaviest track on the album and still remains my favorite Fuel song ever recorded.
So, in the end if you are a fan of the band and have yet to grab this album then you are in need to do some CD shopping. If you already have this album then I’m sure you already know how great the CD is. Is it perfect? No. Were their follow up albums better? Collectively, for `Something Like Human’ especially is close to perfection, but this album is still well worth the investment, especially now that it’s been re-released with two bonus tracks, `Walk the Sky’ being one terrific addition to the lineup (a closing track that is, by all means, memorable).