The song "Start the Reactor" was played during the band's set often in late 2010, prior to the release of a demo version of the song. On May 4, 2011, the band posted the song "Exit Summer" on YouTube and announced the release date for the album and track listing. On May 24, 2011, the band released the first single from the album, "Certain". The album was released on June 28. The title is taken from a recurring line in the song "Happy New Year". In October and November, the band supported New Found Glory on their Pop Punk's Not Dead tour of the U.S.
Burning at Both Ends received mixed reviews from critics. Rock Sound, which gave the album 8 of 10, expressed "They’re back in irresistibly anthemic form, with just the right blend of punk attitude and pop genius. With ‘Burning At Both Ends’, the Bay Area sextet have further underlined their second-to-none pop-punk pedigree". Gregory Heaney of AllMusic, who gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, said "While the album is a solid specimen of melodic hardcore/pop-punk, the one major misstep comes by way of “Product of the 80’s,” which feels more like forced nostalgia than a leisurely stroll down memory lane, cramming the pop culture of the '80s down the listener's throat without even a hint of subtlety" and continued "All blunders aside, Burning at Both Ends is an album that has a lot to offer for Set Your Goals devotees, and might even make converts out of the uninitiated".