The five-track To the Ground EP stands as the first time Burns Like Fire's considerable swagger has been accurately captured on record. It's crusty and catchy but rather ripped, lean and mean but full of invigorating hooks. Album opener "Jean Shorts" finds lead vocalist Web Couch in full-on throat-shredder mode—think Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music—and the rest of the band capably matching Couch's forceful delivery.
"Abandon Ship" stands as the EP's other obvious highlight, a friendly fuck-you anthem that dares the listener to disagree. Guitarist Josh Smith's wiry lead adds an unexpected melodic layer to an already irresistible tune. Closer "110 Degree Beaver Fever," despite its indictable title, closes the recording in style, its half-speed chorus breakdown a necessary reminder that these are songs best heard in a dank basement, sweat and beer cans flying.
There is nothing too surprising about To the Ground. It's brash, brief and well-constructed. Mostly, the EP serves as confirmation that, if it's four-chord pop-punk you're after, nobody does it better in Athens than these guys. Having honed its chops since 2010, Burns Like Fire has finally coalesced into a formidable force on the local scene, more convincing than 99 percent of Warped Tour wannabes and no doubt poised to break out beyond Athens' borders. 4 out of 5.