donderdag 5 mei 2016

Singing, Dancing, Drinking. The Fire Harvest

Singing, Dancing, Drinking? That suggest one big party from early evening till late at night. Despite the fact that this album is a joy to listen to, I'd lay off the festivities for a while. Dark clouds, darkened rooms and even darker moods are what The Fire Harvest presents us on its second album.

The Fire Harvest is a band around We vs. Death drummer Gerben Houwer. What started as a solo project evolved into a band that operates somewhere in the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy idiom with louder, electric guitars. That is where the Sophia connections comes in. Over that the desolate voice of Houwer is presented. Unsteady, at times out of his depth, but emotionally connecting and affecting.

Together with Jacco van Elst, Gibson Houwer, Nicolai Adolfs and Bart Looman, Gerben Houwer creates a musical world that is despondent and forlorn. From the dry sounding drums and the just as dry to slightly distorted guitars, the whole universe is looking down on a drab world. Is life even worth living?, I start wondering listening to Singing, Dancing, Drinking. Well, it is judging by the quality of the album produced by Canadian country singer Daniel Romano, who featured on this blog only recently in a post by Erwin Zijleman.

The moment the third song, suggesting a higher tempo, 'Singers' kicks in, the dark mood gets a Coldplay kind of injection from the time that this band still was relevant, meaning well over ten years ago. Snow Patrol comes closer due to the voice of Houwer and Elbow due to the atmosphere. Reading the bio, I'm all wrong: this must be the post-rock element that is mentioned there. The comparison works for me though. The wall of sound created in 'Singers' is impressive and shows that The Fire Harvest is able to go beyond one kind of song/atmosphere, which was suggested by the opening songs 'Working Man' and 'The Patient'. Live I'm sure 'Singers' will lead to plugging up my ears. The band will kick up a sonic storm of an impressive size.

This diversity is continued by the in reality higher tempo of 'Sorry For The Mess'. It seems meant only to fool me as the mood in the song is taken down soon enough into an instrumental intermezzo on the rhythm of a heartbeat with lots of rustle on it. Impressive though it is.

Singing, Dancing, Drinking continues much in this mood. It is not an album for all moments of the day and perhaps could have been better released five months from now when the days are shortening again. On the other hand it could also be a precautionary measure to release it in mid-spring. Being the kind of stable person I am, I enjoy the dark sound of 'Runner' thoroughly and am surprised when all of a sudden an organ comes in, in a dark register, of course, but a welcome change from the long held, extremely dark guitar chords/notes. The sort of chords and notes that are used so superbly in 'Simple Solutions', which is probably the best song on this album.

All in all Singing, Dancing, Drinking is a bit much, but for those who don't mind the dark side of the musical spectrum and a singer who is not the most stable in holding on to his vocal lines, there is a lot to enjoy. The bare, down to the essentials sound of The Fire Harvest makes it possible for the listener to hear everything that is going on in the songs and establish a relationship with all the individual instruments and the parts played on them. The Fire Harvest is a winner in this segment.


You can listen to 'Working Man' here:

or buy on Bol.Com

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