Public Library

by The Burning Hell

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Christoffer N.
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Christoffer N. "Fuck The Government, I Love You" showed up in my weekly discovery list on Spotify, and from that moment I knew this was a band I needed to check out closer. So I started listening to the entire album and I was instantly sold, not just on the album, but also on The Burning Hell. This album is great fun, as most albums The Burning Hell release. Favorite track: Give Up.
Simon James
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Simon James Fantastic live band who get better with every album. I challenge you not to have "Fuck the Government.." as your earworm for days! Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
Press Play
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Press Play this band is my most exciting find in months. I can't believe they've got 7 albums behind them. where have I been?
Mathias is the most talented lyricist I've heard in years. and it's the lyrics that drive these clever songs. Favorite track: The Stranger.
harleynator thumbnail
harleynator Each song feels like a different adventure in a world I haven't seen, and it's one of my favorite albums as a result. Favorite track: Fuck The Government, I Love You.
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released April 1, 2016

All songs written by Mathias Kom.

Played by Mathias Kom, Ariel Sharratt, Nick Ferrio, Jake Nicoll and Darren Browne. Featuring Sebastian Maschat on 'Fuck The Government, I Love You'.

Recorded in Ramsgate, UK, at Big Jelly Studios by Al Harle in June 2015. Mixed by Jeff McMurrich at 6 Nassau in Toronto. Mastered by Bo Kondren at Calyx in Berlin.

Album art by Jud Haynes.


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The Burning Hell

The Burning Hell is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and consists of him plus Ariel Sharratt (clarinet and drums) and Darren Browne (bouzouki and bass).


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Track Name: The Stranger
It was a wet and slishy-slushy winter day
When the strangers came to stay
A man in black from head to toe with a lady by his side
I knew she was a lady, I had a lady-spotting guide
He said pardon, if you please, our train has run out of steam
And left us in this lonesome village for the evening it would seem
We looked for a hotel but we were told they’d all closed down
Due to the economic crisis that we’ve heard so much about

I took pity on the soaking strangers standing in the melting snow
I said mi casa es su casa, that’s Spanish for make yourself at home
He said I speak a little Spanish, though my second language is Français
Et vous êtes très gentil, merci pour votre hospitalité.
I said no need to merci me, just come in out of the cold
Tell me a little of your travels on the icy iron road
We sat down around the fire and as I hung up their overcoats
He began to tell their story with this sentence, and I quote:

The words we speak here are top secret, meant for private ears
But our lives are in grave danger from a band of privateers
So we must take you in our confidence, we are in mortal fear
Of dying

I then figured them for bandits or confidence artistes
When I saw the two-tone collar I knew he was a ska fan or a priest
He noticed me notice and said I observe your observation
Of the sartorial memorial of my spiritual vocation
I wear this habit out of habit, my service has been shoddy
As you can maybe guess I can’t resist the temptations of the body
To my ex-boss Old Jeezy this is all yesterday’s news
But yes this lady is my lover and I am her lover too

It all started last Shrove Tuesday when as per my holy mandate
I was munching on a luncheon at the International House of Pancakes
I ran out of maple syrup so I approached the nearest patrons
A gorilla of a man and a pretty lady eating eggs and bacon
She passed me her maple syrup and as our fingers briefly brushed
I felt a feeling in my face I’d never felt, yes I blushed
My heart began ballooning and my brow began to sweat
Looking deep into the eyeballs of this beautiful brunette

Moments later we were tangled in my cassock in the can
She said I love a man in uniform I said I hope this is god’s plan
She said her name was Ann I said call me Father Daniel or maybe just

She grabbed my hand, said Dan I gotta blow this popsicle stand, she meant the IHOP
We were running out the back door before I yelled out Jesus and I stopped
I felt something sticky on my palms I was afraid it was stigmata
But it was just a little maple so we jumped in her Miata
We sped off for the mountains and extramarital shenanigans
We stayed up til dawn going over and over and over the plan again
We’d run away to Monaco to elope on her uncle’s yacht
We’d start a new life in the principality with the money that she’d got

But her ex-boyfriend the gorilla from the pancake house got wind
By the threatiness of his death threats I could sense he felt chagrined
He tracked me down at the Riviera as I was about to say I do
With a band of bandit buddies from his criminally misspent youth
They opened fire on our wedding but we escaped into the sea
When the coast was clear we caught the first train out but now you see
I know they can’t be far behind, these goons are gonna gun me down
We’re like sitting duckish loverbirds in this extremely safe feeling town

The worst part is the gorilla has been ordained as a deacon
And he’s got some spiritual spies supporting the havoc he’s been wreaking
A cruel clergy of crime out for blood and I’m speaking of

There was an awkward silence as the ex-priest finished talking
His fiancee excused herself to change into a drier pair of stockings
I got up from my chair and I walked over to the cabinet
I was looking for a couple of holy relics I remembered that I had in it
Then I turned with a crucifix-shaped pistol my hand and my zucchetto on my head
His eyes widened as I crossed myself, and I raised the gun and said
My son, sometimes we search for safety and we find only greater danger
So let this be a lesson to you, never talk to strangers
Track Name: The Road
the band was as blue as the melted joni mitchell cassette
on the dash of the van they had nicknamed regret
touring round the united kingdom
selling compact discs to the people of england
and wales and scotland, oh it’s hard to be a rock band these days
people like to spend their evenings in different ways

that’s just what the band was thinking
when the engine died and the lights started blinking
their lives flashed before them in a slideshow of backstages and bars
as the van slowed down amidst the oncoming cars
they pulled it over and they called for a tow
off the road

off the road, off the road, off the road.

appearing from the mist was a hidden oasis
aka the scotch corner service station
the drummer was relaxed but the singer was panicked
when out of the fog stepped a magic mechanic
he called himself stevie with an i and an e
he waved his wand and his wrench and said follow me

so the band drove north in stevie’s wife’s fiat panda
just a slice of the glamour of being a band, uh huh,
they made the show because the show was important
the sky was as damp as the cheeks of an orphan
same rain as before just in a different postal code
but they all said at least we’re back on the road

on the road, on the road, on the road

stevie made a midnight run right after the gig
drove back to scotch corner to fix their rig
the band panda’d their way the next day south
there was the wizard with a crinkly old smile on his mouth
the van sparkled in the yorkshire dawn
they turned to thank stevie but stevie was gone

the road is a lot like the cormac mcarthy book
less cannibalism but a similar look
there’s nothing more post-apocalyptic
than a landscape of truck stops and rock critics
to paraphrase joni on the first track of that melted cassette
it’s a lonely road and it’s not over yet
Track Name: Fuck The Government, I Love You
We met at the New Years Party of my vegetarian friend.
I said I was studying English, I told you I was in a band
I asked what the band was called, I said it’s called The Burning Hell
I said I’ve never heard of you, I said that’s probably just as well

Just to make conversation I told you about a dream I had in which Jean Baudrillard was rapping with Public Enemy
Shouting “don’t believe the hyperreal” with Flava Flav and Chuck D
And I said I think we might have a lot in common then, possibly,
Because I’m also a musician and also a student of hip-hoposophy

You mentioned you used to play the clarinet in high school in the early years of the millennium when you were young
And you said you’re hired, the pay is negligible, and the tour starts next month
You asked what I was working on, I said I’m writing an album of love songs
I laughed and said love songs are dumb and I said oh yeah, wait til you hear these ones

Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you
Three statements overheard at once in the crowded room
But I couldn’t be sure which one had come from you
So I passed you the wine and said yes, fuck the government, I love you too.

Though neither of us are accomplished dancers we danced a little bit
My vegetarian friend was playing the hits of Will Smith, and we got jiggy with it
There on the dance floor, the living room dance floor, that’s when it happened
You stole my heart, I stole a kiss, we stole someone else’s gin by accident

At some point we got cornered by an amateur poet neither of us knew
Either he had no one else to talk to or just couldn’t pick up simple social cues
Step by step we backed away until we backed up all the way into the bathroom together
We told the poet that we always go together ‘cause that’s just what happens when you’ve been dating forever

We stayed in there for ages hoping the amateur poet would go it was awkward
We came out and found he’d discovered someone else to bother,
And suddenly it was midnight and auld lang syne time and countdowns and gratuitous public making out
And we started shouting because everyone else was shouting and isn’t it fun to shout?

Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you
Three statements overheard at once in the crowded room
But I couldn’t be sure which one had come from you
So I passed you the wine and said yes, fuck the government, I love you too.
Track Name: Men Without Hats
Clutching a ten dollar bill in my hand
Sir John A’s face getting wrinkled and damp
I went down to the mall on Saturday after cartoons
I made straight for the tape store
I knew exactly what to look for
I skipped the candy shop and the clown with the animal balloons
I saw it on the rack with the other new tapes
That baby face with the gap-tooth gape
And I grabbed one quick like a pervert in a video store
I guess I was shy it was my first time
And I joined the girls with the curled bangs in line
And when I got back home I discovered what my ears were for

That was my first day in the world of pop music
Where the sound of a drum or the strum of an acoustic
Could pop it all open like a blister in the sun
A world where Johnny played guitar and Jenny played bass
And they started a band just to see their face
In a magazine ‘cause what else is there to do for fun

A few years later drawing logos of bands
On backpacks and binders and the backs of my hands
And writing out lyrics with the help of rewind pause and play
Math class flashed past in a blur of zeros
Daydreaming about all those musical heroes
Who never needed numbers to say what they had to say
Meanwhile I developed an unholy affection
For the older girls in the smoking section
With the boots and the buckles and the pins and the circle a shirts
Their music was rough but strangely enough
Turned out I liked getting angry and shouting about stuff
I knew the message was meaningful though I didn’t understand a word

And so I discovered another world of music
Where the kids are alright just like the Who said
You count to four and then play the one or two chords you sort of know
A world where hey ho, let’s go is a legitimate chorus
And you can search the stacks and thumb the thesaurus
But there’s no synonym for rock and roll

Back at that young and impressionable age
I never dreamed some day I’d be the one on the stage
But now that I’m here I guess I have to think of something to say
So to all the young girls and young guys out there
Experimenting with drugs, experimenting with hair
Press record on your four track, or whatever kids are using these days

It’s life or death but it’s also just music
And it chooses you, you don’t get to choose it
But once you’re hooked you’re hooked like a rug or a john
So hats off to Ivan and all the rest of the bands
Thanks for giving us so many good reasons to dance
Thanks for giving us so many good reasons to sing along
Track Name: Good Times
Good Times

Our sports team won a game of sports on the weekend
And the city went insane of course we did
Set a bus and a couple of cop cars on fire
Victory smells like burning tires
I’ve had a passion for the game
Since I was a little kid

My mittens lit up like a menorah in the desert
The paramedic was a one-eyed former vet
As she peeled away the wool and the skin
A sergeant appeared to my great chagrin
Said it looks like we have caught you
As red-handed as it gets

You call it a riot, I call it a celebration
You call it violence, I call it an altercation
Tomato, tomato, they’re two different fruits completely
Don’t take the good times away from me

Jail was not exactly like the movies
I befriended a shy con artist named Douglas the Duck
We played poker with paper we pretended was cash
And he always beat me at Balderdash
He could lie like a rug
And he was slippery as a hockey puck

The head warden was a donkey with the face of a man
One day he goes “boys things are changing here at the pen:
Games room privileges are restricted to alternate Fridays
And you know what they say, it’s my way or the highway”
Well Doug said, warden
I guess we’ll take the highway then

You call it a riot, and yes I guess that’s just what it was
You ask me why, then? And I can only answer “just because”
Does a fish need a reason to splash around in the sea?
Don’t take the good times away from me

Don’t let them take the good times away
Don’t let them take the good times away
Don’t let them take the good times away
Don’t let them take the good times away
Track Name: Give Up
In the stacks of the public library I searched for something I was missing
I went to find number 92 in the Dewey Decimal System
That’s the secret code for biographies of the famous and the infamous
From Amelia E to Alexander the G to Mister Christopher Columbus

But I was not after tales of pilots, kings or genocidal sailors
Rather the story of a strange American author and one-time whaler
Herman M, that’s him, the beardy bard who brought us Moby-Dick
I always liked that book of his and I wanted to learn his trick

Well I discovered Mr. Melville died a destitute romantic
Despite his tales of maritime adventure in the Pacific and Atlantic
He searched his whole lifetime for a symbolic kind of whale of his own
And died with no answers, half-crazy and more or less alone

My fiction ambitions took a hit with that bit of information
I mean everybody has their own symbolic cetacean
But whales are weighty and some become allegorical albatrosses
So I threw away my harpoon and cut my library card and my losses

I gave up! It was time
I gave up: it’s no crime
I said to myself that what I’ve got is good enough
I gave up, I gave up.

One hot August afternoon I was taking customer calls in my cubicle
Doing my job dealing with disputes that people found disputable
The ringer rang, I picked up and heard a lady on the line
She said meet me in the parking lot downstairs tomorrow at nine

She hung up before I answered, I sat there staring at the phone
There had been something perplexingly persuasive in her tone
And so it was the next morning found me lurking in the lot
She was leaning on a pillar like in a thriller with a predictable plot

Her pantsuit was as black as the feet of an ancient wandering mystic
Her lips looked made of metal, but it was just silver lipstick
Wordlessly she handed me a package wrapped in brown
Her pumps should have clicked as she departed but they didn’t make a sound

Now you’re wondering what was in the package and trust me I was too
It could be poison or bombs or subversive literature for all I knew
But you could measure my pleasure with the very smallest measuring cup
It was a framed poster of a kitten saying “never give up”

So I gave up! what else could I do
I gave up: so would you
I mean who doesn’t like kittens, but enough is enough
I gave up, I gave up.

So though I know in our culture it basically boils down to blasphemy
I’ve had it with the power of positive thinking and the tyranny of tenacity
I can’t live with this stick-to-it-iveness dependent on endless achievement
I’d rather relax and casually chant a mantra I really believe in:

I give up all of the time
I give up and I’m doing fine
Because I’ve got to be going when the going gets tough
I give up, I give up!
Track Name: Two Kings
Michael Jackson is alive and well and living in Canada
That’s what I was told by a friend of mine who heard in on the radio
I was not so very old when Thriller hit number one
But even in my infant mind I knew the gloved one was invincible

So I could believe he was somewhere deep in North Ontario
Moonwalking with Elvis, and maybe working on brand a new show

Oh their cabin isn’t small at all, but it’s no northern Neverland
No Graceland in the woods, just a simple home with simple furnishings
Two Kings on two wooden thrones, rocking the porch away
Talking about the old days and working out the details of their comeback tour

But both of them know they’d rather stay there in their forest home
Playing Hearts by the glow of their trusty old wood stove
And Michael spins the globe and they stare at it and go

No, you’ll never see us again
No, you’ll never see us again
Oh, you never were our real friends
Ergo, you’ll never see us again

One sticky August night, it’s said, they were up past their bedtimes
Staring at the stars and drinking virgin cocktails made with ginger-ale
Elvis heard it first, a hum in the distance
It sounded like a plane, but Michael was sure that it was aliens

But suddenly, a helicopter materialized
Bright shining lights and cameras burning out of the darkened sky

There was nothing to be done, they knew, they didn’t have an alternative
So Elvis armed the switch, and MJ followed the launching protocol
The cabin was a blur of steel two kingly voices they counted down
From twenty back to one, and then the cameras captured their fading final song

No, you’ll never see us again
No, you’ll never see us again
Oh, you never were our real friends
Ergo, you’ll never see us again

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