I love it when you re-discover a band that has slipped your mind. Many years ago, when you could still cheat and get the online radio station Pandora by just using any American zip code no matter where you were in the world (I used 90210 whilst living in a scum part of Newcastle upon Tyne in England), I first heard Fire When Ready and purchased the song in question. Over the years I have promised that I would get the rest, or at least listen to the album itself. Well fast forward to 2014 and that is finally happening, I finally have a copy of the Fire When Ready album so I can finally see if the one track is just a one off or if the whole album is of a similar quality. From the little I can gather from their Facebook page they formed in 2002 and hail from Syracuse/Brooklyn/Binghamton, New York and Durham, North Carolina. Whilst this was released in 2005, I cannot see if there has been a follow up album; there has been a recent split release on their Bandcamp with Marathon and that is it. So time to find out what the album is all about.
The album starts off with "Oh What A Clever Facade!!" which has a small instrumental piece at the beginning before dropping into a full on Emotional Punk attack. It might be down as progressive on their Facebook, but this band share more in common with Far, Hot Water Music and Snapcase then Rush or Dream Theatre. This is a good thing as well, the opening attack is firmly based on the genre before it became a fashion statement and all My Chemical Romance; it is honest and full of passion. As opening tracks go, it grabs the listener's attention straight away and is full a glorious little hooks that lace your soul. "The Right Hook" is next and continues that dynamic, taking down a slight notch to be honest but not in terms of quality. It is another track that makes you want to dance around like a mad man with a chilli up your bottom. It is more subtle and it shows that this album is not going to be just anthems for the broken hearts with good hair products. Next is "A Funeral With Wedding Vows" which was the song I first heard all those years ago, it is just as brilliant as when I first heard it back then; it is the whole package for me, full of clever lyrics, brilliant hooks, a great performance - the whole package for me!
"He's Gaining, He's Gaining" is a great story wrapped in some glorious sounds, it is bounces along and it seems to be over too soon for my tastes. Next is "She Has Two Smiles" which is an instrumental track which again is over a little too soon for me. It have a dream like state of mind, some curious samples mixed into the song and if given another few minutes might have been a world beater. "Say Something While You're Good And Mad About It" is next and it actually started a bit like The Darkness for a scary few seconds until the guitars kick in and make the world right again. It is not the most immediate song on the album, it took me a few listens to get into it, but it does have its own merits and rewards at the end of the day.
"We All Need Reminders" is another slow number which is beautifully played, might have worked better in a different place on the album but that is just my own personal opinion. "State Street" is next and the peddle is firmly back on the floor for this one. It is a much strong beast than the last few tracks and brings some much needed pace to the album. "They Call Her Echo" is a beautiful and brilliant song that if it were not for "A Funeral With Wedding Vows" would have been the song of the album. It is also the track where the title of the album came from (I love titles like that). Ending the album is "Abide And Endure" which is starts off very solemnly and is a mirror to the opening instrumental piece I mentioned on "Oh What A Clever Facade!!" at the beginning of the album, so it you have it on repeat it merges into one big circle of sorrowful joy. I like that, it is clever and it ends the album on a depressing high as it is not a happy song by any means.
So how did it fair overall? Well it is a good, solid album which should have been the base from which the band could have been launched in the big leagues. For some reason this did not happen, which is a little sad for me as the record is very good. It does miss a few beats in the middle and could have been a few moments longer on a couple of tracks; but overall it is a good album. It might not be the most essential work I will hear this year, but I am glad I made the effort to look out for it. Hopefully they will get the breaks they deserve and make it big, as some of the tracks here are too good to be kept for just local hero status.
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Top track - A Funeral With Wedding Vows
You can purchase the album from Spotify here
You can purchase the album from the Fire When Ready Bandcamp page
You can visit the Fire When Ready Facebook page
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
You can listen to the album on Deezer here