“Love is not an anchor that steadies you at sea. It’s more like a shipwreck on a godforsaken beach”. This is the line that opens Burning Bridges, alt. country band Market Junction‘s latest album. A thoughtful exploration of love, longing and consequences, the songs here connect to the roaming souls and aching hearts we’ve all experienced, and make for a beautiful and moving collection.
While emotion runs strong throughout Burning Bridges, the band smartly keeps the tone and tempos varied to avoid emotional exhaustion. Following the melancholy, acoustic opener, “When Your Heart Begins to Ache”, MJ showoff their bonafides as a rock band with “Out of Love”. Though flirting with cynicism (“We say I love you, cause we’re supposed to”), it births from a character still lying in the wake of heartbreak (“Years have left me here to rust, all because two hearts fell out of love”).
“I Hope it Breaks Your Heart”‘s twang electric guitar gives a country vibe to the story of a relationship on the brink of ending. There’s a maturity to the narrator’s epiphanies (“The truth is there were good times in the memories we made”), even as he’s resigned to the fact that it has to end (“I wonder if there’s any other way to say goodbye”).
Listening to Market Junction, it’s not hard to hear the Eagles in their blending of light country rock and soothing vocal melodies that rollick and strain, but the group also shows off their knack for detailed humor and colloquial insights right out of the Warren Zevon playbook. “California’s full of hippies, waiting tables, sleeping till noon”, the protagonist of “Western Coast” jabs before looking back at his own sorrowful state of affairs (“I’m all alone on this western coast, out of gas”).
The pains of traveling and long distance love are continuous theme in Burning Bridges. On the banjo-laden, haunting “Nebraska” (see our coverage of the track’s music video we covered previously), a man finds his relationship drowning as work keeps him on the road away from his lover. On “A Stone Will Sink”, over subtle harmonies, our lover pines that he is “lost here without you”, and on the swaying “Hello My Dear”, dreams about returning home and surprising his former flame (“I’ll come around when she least expects me”), but realistically knowing their love has “slipped away” and fearing being back while she’s moved on.
It has to be said that the pristine vocals elevate every track here. “Livin’ a Lie”, a gentle country hymn, could certainly have fallen flat without the elegiac singing that allows it to breeze along, though the intricate guitar playing also deserves some kudos. On the somber, closing title track, frontman Matt Parrish imbues his singing with wisdom and soul, giving lines like “Time will take our youth and leave our mistakes” an extra gravitas that makes the song that much more powerful.
Burning Bridges has everything to break a heart while also acting as a salve for the wound. The album comes out on August 7th, but you can hear the pre-released tracks below: