THE FIRE AND I
Release Date: March 8th 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
I had the good fortune to witness the live spectacle that is The Fire And I recently as they showcased this second studio album on select dates around Scotland.
They are a duo and as a unit can conjure up an amazing sound. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the charismatic drummer and Mexican wrestling mask-wearing Hooligan Sadikson, playing alongside softly spoken Gordon Love who is the main vocalist and bass-wielding demon. (He isn't literally a demon, but I thought it gained him some evil presence to the proceedings).
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Sadikson, he carries off additional vocals with a superior aplomb and this all adds to the vibrant personality that comes across during the listening experience of 'Double Kamikaze'. They have their own sound which in this day and age is remarkable without alienating anyone. With the 14 tracks they have on this album, they don't outlive their stay as they all clock in at anything from 44 seconds ('Interlude') to songs that are just under three and a half minutes ('Coming Loose' and 'Bitten').
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The danger with a band being visually and striking in the live environment and struggling to convert and translate the energy and atmosphere onto their audio releases is a potential nightmare I suspect. Naturally this applies to 'Double Kamikaze'. I listen to it and I can picture Sadikson bashing his drum-kit (that's not a euphemism) like animal from The Muppet Show, looking like a slimmer and tanned version of Nacho (the character Jack Black plays in 'Nacho Libre'). The production complements their sound and their performances, but the live arena is really where the guys shine brightly.
Evident highlights when you give this album a spin include 'Strobe', the title track and 'Coming Loose'. The latter is a restrained track in comparison to the other bruising examples given. What I love about these guys is how fearless they are, embracing their self-belief in their own abilities and united dynamics. After Rocking for about six years they have a confident swagger in all they project.
'The Lure' is a corker as they utilise every weapon in their arsenal. 'Unlock My Sanity' starts up with a curious array of instrumentation before revealing the reason this track exists – to ride a groove-ridden riff and to pillage all that gets in its way.
When I saw these guys live, Sadikson brought the chaos and tension and Love brought a relaxed energy to the party. This contradiction is their secret weapon. I wonder if that is because Love was born in Bathgate, near Edinburgh and Sadikson was born in Mexico City, Mexico? Regardless of these thoughts, 'Double Kamikaze' has some very cool moments and is guaranteed to entertain your ears if you maintain an open mind.v
Mixing shades of the quirky variety with full steam ahead angst and mellow moods, how could 'Double Kamikaze' fail to keep the interest? “Caffeine's not going to make you sleep” says Hooligan Sadikson on the tail end of 'Full Effect Intake' and I wonder if that is another element to their performance? By the time your ears are treated to the final curtain call 'Washing Over', they share a floating vocal which surfs on the waves of a distorted bass riff and some prolific beats as always.
Two very cool individuals who have taken around four years to release this sophomore album is a direct insight I can share with you. If you're bored with what you're listening to and you wish to digest something rough around the edges with copious amounts of genuine identity and personality, then I present The Fire And I who have thrown everything at this album to say thank you for the patience. Take a trip on the 'Fire' side and you never know what it might inspire.
Devil Damned Thoughts
Unlock My Sanity
High Flyer Suicide
Full Effect Intake
De Fetus King