FiRES WERE SHOT
Solace


5.0
classic

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
May 18th, 2010 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Revelatory. Alex Robertson tries for the second time to convince you why.

I listen to FiRES WERE SHOT's Solace for the same reasons that someone would listen to, say, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's F#A#∞ or My Bloody Valentine's Loveless--which is to say that this band has the ability to instantly transport me to that special place with a simple strum of their guitars (in this case, the two-note motif that opens "Aside Herself"). Not only that, though, but they also have the courtesy to let me explore that same world for an hour or so before the album ends. But while Godspeed were famous for their attention to detail (and their ability to apply it to their own visions of the apocalypse) and My Bloody Valentine reveled in the beautiful noise they elicited from their guitars, Texan duo FiRES WERE SHOT are a slightly different beast. In a way, they're the best of both worlds, combining the complex structuring of the post-rock clan with the attention to tone and sonic vibrance of modern drone and ambient groups.

Not only do these qualities allow them to write breathtakingly beautiful opuses like "Hiroshima" and closer "Balfour Hollis", but it also allows for something unusual and exciting in modern music: a sense of motion. It may be hard to imagine something like direction and movement being imposed onto a format like music, but the duo pull it off. Take, for example, "Eierie", which begins with the oscillating malfunction of some alien device, a loop of which is repeated until it slowly collapses in on itself. From the rubble of this fascinating disaster arises a circling guitar line--suddenly, the listener is thrust into the next "phase" of the song, the peculiar opening now merely a distant memory. Again, in "Hollow": a reverberating "plunk" is heard, perhaps the sound of a stone being dropped into water, or of a microphone being knocked on, or of a mallet being hit against a bongo (this sort of clever sonic ambiguity makes the album all the more intriguing). This unexplained tone is suddenly overtaken by a lumbering acoustic guitar line, with which a screeching electric drone (think John Cale's electric viola on The Velvet Underground's debut) desperately tries to keep pace. Toward the end, a brilliant discovery is made: the "plunk" that manifested in the beginning never truly disappeared, it was simply burrowed under the layers of guitar and drone that gave it musical significance. Suddenly, the aforementioned sense of direction contained within the album throws you for a loop when it reveals that this all-new environment is actually comfortably familiar. The album thrives on moments like these: to listen to Solace is to be thrusted head-first into a world that is both beautiful and extremely foreign, in which you move through different environments with each song (and sometimes within a song), each more different than the last.

However, to say that Solace is pure atmosphere would be to sell the band short. Even without its distantly gorgeous strings and the strangely pleasurable fuzz that permeates throughout, "Hiroshima" is an example of a song that still boasts a hell of a melody--one that anyone, fan of "drone" music or not, can enjoy. It's also a song that shows that, when stripped of the distorted lens it views its own environment through, Solace becomes quite a simple album, really. Most of these songs are based off simple folk melodies or modest chord progression. Alone, these are frequently excellent bits by themselves, but the importance lies in the fact that they're blown up to sound bigger than the world. And do they.

Despite my best efforts, I'm not exactly sure what it is these two Texans are doing. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that "Solice", barely over a minute, makes me give a good long think about my life. Or that "Lattice" is akin to watching the sky majestically crack open. Or that, by the end of "Balfour Hollis"--which piles on layers of acoustic guitars to one of the most gorgeous chord progressions ever--I feel like I'm sitting on the top of the world, looking down. Whatever it is, it's pure magic for me . If it isn't for everyone else, that's fine; I know that, whenever I need them, these two will be there for me, acoustic guitars and effects pedals in tow, ready to cleave spheres of novel activity in this little made-up world of theirs. A world that was made by them, yes, but one that belongs entirely to me.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15080 Comments


i was like 'hmm i should replace this review' so i did with one that made even less sense than before
enjoy

also i prolly shoulda mentioned 'ocean m31' when talking about the sense of motion within this album
because that is the best example but whatever!

Waior
May 18th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You ruined the continuity of one of our first sputnikencounters. i'll read this later when i'm less peeved by your inherent betrayal!

actually, i just have to vacuum. album rules

NeutralThunder12
May 18th 2010


8742 Comments


pos'd. I may enjoy this.

Transport
May 18th 2010


25 Comments




actually, i just have to vacuum. album rules



hahaah vacuum. you gonna suck your dick with the hoover?

Bitchfork
May 18th 2010


7584 Comments


i love this album.

sniper
May 18th 2010


19080 Comments


Cool review, very interested in this.

sniper
May 18th 2010


19080 Comments


Me neither, srsly couldn't find a mediafire d/l at all, so I gave up. I'll probably never hear this unless I find one.

jimmyjohn
May 18th 2010


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://soundcloud.com/fires-were-shot

sniper
May 18th 2010


19080 Comments


Sweeeeeet, thanks for that.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15080 Comments


i just ordered it on cd 8) should get here soon

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15080 Comments


also this MUST be listened to at night. turn it up significantly

sniper
May 18th 2010


19080 Comments


Will do dude, this seems like a good gateway album for music like this?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15080 Comments


surely--"easy", simple melodies with production that's indicative of the genre (i.e. drone, ambient, stuff like dat)

this might seem like a silly reason to endear you to an album you might not like at first, but it gets better with every listen to me. it also changes, for me, every listen.

sniper
May 18th 2010


19080 Comments


I'm relatively certain it will be easy for me to get into those styles/genres/whatever, I just haven't before. I'm gonna listen to this tonight.

alachlahol
May 18th 2010


7515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this band just made a blog post about this review on their myspace. you made them blush apparently

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15080 Comments


i fucking love these dudes !

Waior
May 18th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2010


15080 Comments


guess what came in the mail today 8D

Transport
May 20th 2010


25 Comments


please tell me

sniper
May 20th 2010


19080 Comments


Was it crack?!



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