I Would Set Myself On Fire For You - Self-Titled
The first major decision in the formation of any band is surely their name; this mission statement, their opening gambit. This is what many people will form their opinion of the band with, and this is where, in many peoples opinions I Would Set Myself On Fire For You falls at the first hurdle. Conjuring images of some melodramatic angst-ridden teenage relationship, this is often a major turn-off for any potential listeners of the band. However, this could be their blessing as well as their curse, as this moniker is what first drew me to the band. I wanted to see why a band would sum themselves up with such a cringe-worthy sentence, and to be honest I’m glad I did, because for the most part, it’s irrelevant.
Georgia’s I Would Set Myself On Fire For You were formed some time around 2000(though exact details are hard to find) and released this Self-Titled full length in 2003. Their sound is largely comprised of some old school emo elements combined with some of modern screamo with a viola thrown in for good measure. This presence of a viola often garners them with comparison their fellow Georgia band, Portrait. This however, is not always too apparent and they largely come across as adding all the normal ingredients but coming out with something fairly original, often using acoustic guitars and the vocals of the bands’ only female member.
The first song I heard from this band was “The First Word That Comes To Mind” and I was left awestruck; It starts with the viola slowly building until several spoken lines start being repeated on top of each other, this then continues into a spoken word passage (from Kurt Vonnegut’s Time Quake) about the vastness of the universe and how light has become “Not fast enough to make any trips worth taking- in even the most unreasonable lengths of time.” This continues until the whole band burst in with distorted guitars and somewhat distant screaming. Although this spoken word section may seem a little too pretentious for some, I liked it a lot. On the strength of this song I decided to purchase the rest of this album.
Although there are, to my mind, no other real standout tracks the CD, it was still a worthwhile purchase; “A Small World“ and “Chinese Freeze Tag” make for a good listen but do not surpass the highlight. This CD overall is mainly consisted of fairly epic songs, a few of which surpass the 7 minute mark. Although not entirely original, the viola and female vocals can lend some diversity and beauty to the mix while the male vocals seem quite heart-felt and desperate and this make the CD seem quite refreshing overall.
Although this album has its good points its not without its flaws either. The production could have been a little better and the vocals seem too low in the mix. I know this is a traditional “emo” trait but it’s one that I’m not a big fan of. Also , the lyrics, while largely decent, sometimes slip into an overly emotional state - although most emo bands are sometimes guilty of this. And finally, while I know it shouldn’t really make a difference, the packaging could have been a little better; it consisted only of some sheets of cardboard and a few small photo-copied pages of lyrics but I realise again that this is all part of the emo aesthetic.
Overall, despite the minor bad points, this is a largely enjoyable release which manages to convey a lot of emotion and beauty within its 40 minute runtime and I guess that the old saying is true and you really should never judge a book by its cover.