Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CD Review - The Fireman "Electric Arguments"

OK, so since I kind of assed out in an earlier post, talking about an album I had never even heard, I felt obligated to go and buy the CD by Paul McCartney and producer Youth, called Electric Arguments. Their 'band' is called The Fireman. I have been listening to it for a couple of days straight and I really like it.

While fans of Maybe I'm Amazed, Band on the Run and Take It Away may be a little shocked at how free form this is, fans of McCartney's more experimental side will be satisfied.

Take the first track, Nothing Too Much Out Of Sight. On first listen, it sounds like Helter Skelter's younger brother with a heavy riff, thrashing McCartnery-played drums, and a screamy vocal. There is distorted harmonica, bass, slide guitar and vocals. On second and third listen, I noticed the thing alternates between bars of 6 and 8, which makes for a loping kind of weird groove.

There is no verse-chorus-verse structure on this CD. It's very free flowing and jammy and for the most part vocals are like another instrument. And they clearly smoked boatloads of weed while recording some of these tunes.

There are also a number of different styles on the album. Highway is almost a throwback to the Taxman riff and is really catchy. The songs Traveling Light and Is This Love? sound like something you'd hear in a day spa. Dance Till We're High sounds like a Motown throwback. I also heard a lot of the chiming, big background vocal and instrumental sounds that were on most of the Beach Boys' albums in the 60s. Two Magpies is in the Blackbird/Bluebird vein.

But in general it's hard to pin down what style this is. It's really all over the map. When Peter Gabriel put out Passion in the 80s, I could not get that out of my CD player. I thought it was so cool that he had broken out of the song structure and laid down some of the most interesting instrumental music I had heard in a long time. The difference is that the Fireman CD is not so rooted in one style of music - in Passion's case Eastern music - and it's not a soundtrack. So there were no constraints whatsoever on the song structure.

The 'single' from the CD is Sing the Changes. Check that one out on iTunes and if you dig it, this album might be for you.

1 comment:

Bob K said...

Ice review. I agree and Electric Arguments is STILL in my CD player in the car (it is a six-disc changer) even though I put it in the day the album came out last fall - I continue to listen to it and enjoy it.