Monday, 14 March 2011

You're an Ocean Deep, My Brother
Out Now
Rating: 4.5/5

A lot of commentators these days seem to fall back on the “bedroom album” argument when talking about the music industry these days, and even if that's not the case, there's certainly a lot of records being made to a decent standard at small studios all over the world right now, probably on a shoestring budget. I'd not be too surprised if that's from whence this Firesuite record comes, but you wouldn't tell from the production values.

In terms of sound, it's something like Failure, cranked to eleven and shot through with boy/girl vocals and post-rock atmospherics that aren't unlike the ethereal musings of Hammock. At a time when shoegaze has been resurgent, I guess it's only natural that eventually the Dinosaur Jr. fuzz would take over again and bands would begin re-discovering slacker US indie-grunge. The great thing about Firesuite, of course, is that they do a pretty decent job of smashing the two together, like freight trains bent on collision.

That's certainly the overriding vibe behind opener, 'Of Little Faith', but it's on track two, 'Amity', (when the Hum and Deftones influences cascade in) that the album really takes flight. Hyperbole aside, it really is a wall of sound we're dealing with here, and it's I guess no mean feat that the vocals manage to cut through so well in spite of this. From then on, the album doesn't really let up. There's brief respite offered by 'Stay' and the cartoon electronica of 'Sci-Fi Lullaby', but it's soon back to fast, sludgy rock on Kyuss-esque 'Beneath the Roses'. The space rock vibes cut back in on 'If Only Time Were Distance', which sounds as if it could be taken straight off Exeter's first (and only) record, before the collection tails off with coda 'Forever December'.

Though I'm certainly in a reference-overkill mood today, it definitely bears restating that the three bands that Firesuite most resemble in my mind are Failure, Exeter and RIBS; given that the latter two represent two of my most cherished unsigned finds of recent years, that bodes well for Firesuite. The fact is, You're an Ocean Deep, My Brother is an exceptional work. There's not a bad song on it, and let's be honest who cares how 'original' it is or isn't. When all of your songs are good enough to bring this level of enjoyment to the table, as far as I'm concerned you can do what the fuck you like. Essential.

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