When I was fairly young, about 18 I think it was (actually I don’t think, I know because I can remember it so well) my college mate and I went over to Manchester one cold December night. It was, at that time, the biggest gig I think I’d ever been to. Manchester G-Mex had sold out in 40 minutes I was told, and there was a DJ on playing the new house music (I’m not at all sure about this, but I think it could have been Graham Park. There were three bands on the bill that night, all from Manchester. A certain ratio played their indie-dance-funk as main support, bottom of the bill were this band, I think I’d briefly heard about them, promoting their new album Bummed. That night, watching The Happy Mondays was the first and only time I’d seen someone smoke a joint through the entire set, and I was sort of transfixed by this skinny, bendy, drugged up sort of character to one side who danced from beginning to end. I don’t know if it was Bez, or Shaun and his spliff, or the music, but I bought Bummed the next day.
Headlining that night were New Order. I loved New Order anyway, but that night it became apparent how much not only I loved them, but another 13,000 people loved them as well. It remains to this day (and believe me, I’ve seen a fair few bands in my time) the best concert I’ve ever been to. It was so brilliant, so loud and the music was so……. hugely affecting.
Bearing this in mind, when I found out that Sheffield five-piece Firesuite described their music as ‘loud and hugely affecting’ I knew straight away I had to use it as an analogy for going to see New Order as a youth. And listen to the EP immediately as well. Now, its no New Order stylistically, but it is interesting, complex even sort of indie-rock/metal? (oh, I don’t know…) that uses extremes of dynamics from extreme noise to passages of almost tender sounding music to produce something that is….well, loud and hugely affecting.
Its the mature -sounding Rabbit that opens the EP, the driving drums repelling a kind of slacker-wash of guitars. What sets it apart is the male/female singing line, that gives it an almost ethereal quality alongside this wash. True to form there are moments of reflection, but the incessant forward motion of those drums doesn’t let it lie.
Undo continues with this theme, and this song, barring the lovely balance of vocals again from singers Chris Anderson and Sarah Griffiths, could almost be a supercharged Elbow or some-such (insert more fashionable band name here) songsters. Instead there’s this sense of tension, almost anxiety with Anderson singing I’m restless I want you to stay, I know I’m restless I want you to go’ to set the scene
Its the title track Red World that best shows off what the band are about, I think. Huge riffs, accessible even if you think you’re not going to like this sort of thin, beautiful harmonies and this angst-y sort of lyrical content, and those drums again. The propel the track onwards like and irresistible force, with moments of reflection, especially as they sing ‘it’s too much’ . It almost is…
Concave, the fourth track, starts surprisingly with a jerky rhythm on this guitar but quickly builds up, but retains this uneasy feeling with odd time changes keeping you guessing, waiting almost. Shifting constantly as it goes on what it does show off is the quality of the two voices, and also the impressive ability of the band to play in a complex style like this. the whole thing builds to an adrenalin-fueled climax….
The EP ends with Had Enough which begins with a sort of tranquil sense about it, but it has that suspense film feel about it, when you know that somethings going to happen. It builds and those guitars wash over you, those voices soar over you, and those drums drive you. I don’t say this often at my sort of (approaching middle) age, but its…well, thrilling.
Getting hold of this album is easy, through the bands Bandcamp page, where the download is a measly £2.50. There’s a limited edition Cd with nice pictures and things like that available for £6. And you don’t need to see bez or indeed any of The Happy Mondays to hear y0u should get hold of this at the earliest opportunity. You can however, see them – tour dates below