BBMak Showcases New Confidence, Maturity

Excerpted from the magazine for

For the past six years, the members of BBMak have spent at least five days a week together, first developing their act, then recording, promoting, and touring -- in each other's faces pretty much non-stop.

So what did Christian Burns, Mark Barry, and Ste McNally do once they wrapped up the final leg of a two-year tour in support of "Sooner or Later," their debut album? "We took two weeks off for Christmas and then started writing songs for the new album," Burns says. "We started recording in January and finished in June."

McNally adds, "We're still all kicking the ball in the same direction. It's great that we have the same goals, and we know how to get there together."

The group's solidarity has already made them one of the brighter beams on the millennium pop horizon, when BBMak became one of a scant handful of British acts to break in the U.S. in 2000: its debut single, "Back Here," landed at No. 5 on The Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on Billboard's AC chart, pushing U.S. sales of its debut album to 862,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

On Aug. 27, the guys return for a second takeover attempt with "Into Your Head," a robust 10-song collection on Hollywood Records that offers a healthy return on their two years in the industry trenches. The trio co-wrote every song on the set, Burns and McNally play guitars throughout, and they all had a hand in the recording process from the first beat.

"We've done so many live shows in the past two years and we've become better players over that time. We were more confident in the studio with this album," Barry acknowledges. "Lyrically, we felt things in a more mature way; we've all grown up and we wanted to express that."

"Into Your Head" was produced with "Sooner or Later" executive producer Rob Cavallo, as well as Al Clay (Del Amitri, Stereophonics), and it showcases a meaty, grittier instrumental handle, exemplified by the guitar-fanned first single "Out of My Heart," currently No. 68 on Billboard's Hot 100.

Elsewhere, the album builds upon the BBMak knack for runaway hooks and celestial harmonies. Among the standouts is "The Beginning," which wistfully reflects on the twilight days of a relationship. The rock-centric "Staring into Space" illustrates the power of proactive thinking, while the melancholy "Runaway" tells of a guy trying to wash away his girl's insecurities. McNally says, "With each song, we were trying to paint little pictures in people's heads and then put them to music."

An "Out of My Heart" DVD single is currently available at retail, which will be followed by a DVD-plus release in October and a commercial CD single with previously unreleased B-sides. The album will see an early 2003 release on Warner Bros. in much of the rest of the world. (It will be on Telstar in the U.K.) But wherever they are, the members of BBMak are poised for action.

"We've been so busy for the last year writing and recording," Burns says. "We really believe in these songs, and we know what we've got to do now. We can't wait to get back out on the road and kick some ass."

Excerpted from the Aug. 24, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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