Set Fire to Flames
Sings Reign Rebuilder


4.5
superb

Review

by S. G. Shaw USER (15 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2007 | 31 replies | 10,817 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Set Fire to Flames captures a grainy image of the darker side of the world that most of us have forgotten. Through that use of found-sound and minimalist instrumentation, SFtF have produced an album that experimentalist or post rock geeks should check out

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

xxx love song for 15 Ontario xxx

refrain #2:
real estate speculators / urban planners / architects pregnant with bastard monstrosities---you should all be put on trial for what you’ve done to our cities---since 1878 this house has been a brothel / and a 10 cent shoe shine parlour / and a good home to many many people / animals / ghosts---your bulldozers and wrecking ball can make matchsticks out of the rickety staircase and crookt/creaking floorboards---but they won’t erase the recording that was made here---and we are waiting for your wrecking ball…

--Liner Notes in Sings Reign Rebuilder

Godspeed retold the apocalypse using their quiet/loud dynamic in their album F# A# (infinity), but Set Fire to Flames brings us closer to the chaos that resulted after said apocalypse in their debut release Sings Reign Rebuilder. But if the whole ‘apocalypse allusion’ has been played out already, one can picture Sings Reign Rebuilder as a voice for those people who have been forgotten by contemporary society. SFtF employs the use of various found-sound excerpts, monologues from the SFtF-dubbed lyingdyingwonderbodies, whose speeches compliment the music as a juxtaposition of hope and desolation.

Now don’t get me wrong; Sings Reign Rebuilder isn’t a collection of religious nuts ranting and creaking staircases (although they don’t exclude the creaking staircase). The music (a lot of it is actually very beautiful music) and the organic sound samples shouldn’t be viewed as a dichotomy that oppose each other. Set Fire to Flames show their mastery of melding together the samples and music into a dialectic: where instead of being considered opposites, the music and sound samples play off and permeate into one another.

Though considered minimalist in nature, Sings Reign Rebuilder delivers a wide array of moods through its inherent musical diversity. Distorted violins/violas and twanged-out guitars are a couple of the biggest highlights throughout this album, and while those alone might sound trite and worn-out (especially in post rock), SFtF regresses from the Godspeed formula of build--recede, and instead explores the extents of its own aural boundaries. There is No Dance in Frequency and Balance is one of the more interesting tracks, considering it has a strong electronic influence as opposed to the rest of the album’s strong organically-based music. The track moves along slowly with a loose drum beat, eerie white noise and a funky bass line until all the instruments hold for a second and the song breaks down into a distorted wave of beats and pressurized air.

Tracks like 'I Will Be True...' (From Lips Of Lying Lying Wonder Body #1) / Reign Rebuilder [Head] and Wild Dogs Of The Thunderbolt / 'they Can Not Lock Me Up... I Am Eternally Free...' (From Lips Of Lying Lying Wonder Body #2) don’t just portray a deep sense of pretentiousness but highlight the violin and twangy guitar duo accompanied by the stories of the lyingdyingwonderbodies. Shit-Heap-Gloria Of The New Town Planning is another highlight on Sings Reign Rebuilder as the one track to (loosely) follow the Godspeed formula as it builds with a dense fog of low-cut noise, guitars and strings. The song, however, never reaches that apex that a typical post rock song would experience, and where it seems like it might reach that point, Set Fire to Flames tease our ears with restraint and pull back into silence.

The two biggest highlights on Sings Reign Rebuilder include Steal Compass / Drive North / Disappear and Love Song For 15 Ontario (W/ Singing Police Car). Similar to Shit-Heap.., Steal Compass.. builds from a simple guitar line and when it seems like the song will give the payoff, the song breaks down with an exiting drum beat and a soaring electronic wall of sound. Love Song For 15 Ontario (W/ Singing Police Car) is beautiful in itself but also in the case of the accident: the real. The song moves along beautifully with guitar, strings, noise and percussion and just as the song is about to end and the instruments cease for a second to play the final bar, a police siren enters the space of the music and leaves, creating a feeling of urgency or even longing of something fleeting.

Set Fire to Flames has done just that: created an album dedicated to those fleeting peripheral feelings of hope and despair we feel as intelligent human beings. It teaches us to read between the lines, to look between the notes and find ourselves where we never thought we would: alone and trapped inside our lyingdyingwonderbodies. But where there is despair, there’s hope to be offered, which is evident through a lot of Sings Reign Rebuilder.

If you’ve already explored most of what post rock has to offer, check out Set Fire to Flames. The biggest problem with this band is that they are very ‘hit-or-miss’ in the sense that some people will appreciate what they’ve created and others will dismiss it completely as another pretentious, experimental, masturbatory art-album. I gladly fall into the former model.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
May 2nd 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A fucking brilliant album.

711
May 2nd 2007



1341 Comments


Great review, Ive really been meaning to check this out. I love how they recorded this in a run down little shack with little food and sleep for 5 days.

GleamInRanks
May 2nd 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm fairly sure I need to get this, and soon. Good review. Just so I get this straight: is the album based on what happens after an apocalpyse or is that just the mood of the album?

Wanker
May 18th 2007



139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The album isn't really based on the apocalypse. The vibe I get from the album is one of dreariness and desolation, a feeling that may accompany the apocalypse. But by all means, don't expect music similar to GY!BE; it's quite different.

GleamInRanks
May 18th 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But by all means, don't expect music similar to GY!BE; it's quite different.

I wasn't, your review states that perfectly. If I can find it, I'll be picking this up on Tuesday along with others. Wish me luck!

Wanker
May 18th 2007



139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You may have to order it online since stores rarely carry any SFtF. But good luck finding it and your other records. Let me know what you think of it as well.

GleamInRanks
July 18th 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I finally got this and it's great. I love the music can go from completely demented to relaxing. The artwork is some of the strangest stuff I have ever seen.

DeadToPain
August 5th 2007



694 Comments


i'm just now listening to this, and it's effin brilliant. i'm really digging this, thanks for the review.

TimmyK
November 18th 2008



8 Comments


damn, sad i didn't discover this earlier. sounds like it might be quite inspiring. thanks for the great review.

Sabottheory
May 7th 2009



355 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

One of my biggest disappointments in post-rock.

Motiv3
August 9th 2009



8921 Comments


listening to some songs, tremendous atmosphere, my friend sent me a song of theirs.

YouAreMySilence
October 8th 2009



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sooo fucking amazing.

CheckersOnMyShoesYo
October 31st 2009



215 Comments


shyt i absolutely love this album. so gorgeous.

DiceMan
January 9th 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is wonderful. How would one not like this?

Can't listen to it when I sleep though. Gives me nightmares.

qwe3
January 9th 2010



21355 Comments


you can't set fire to flames, they're already on fire!

silly billies

DiceMan
January 9th 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

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feav233
January 9th 2010



1411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i try, but its hard for me to get really into their two albums

DiceMan
January 9th 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just sing along. It makes it so much easier.



Shadow17
March 12th 2010



67 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Creepy, melancholic and CREEPY! Loads of atmosphere. Not an easy listen, but brilliant.

SeaAnemone
September 25th 2010



19922 Comments


I hardly ever listen to this in lieu if better moody post-rock but yeah this is great nonetheless

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country



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