Above the Volcano of Flowers

Fire Show

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Above the Volcano of Flowers Review

by Peter J. D'Angelo

Somewhere between Gang of Four, Les Savy Fav, and Autechere rests Fire Show. Beat-driven tunes, vocals with more personality than imaginable, electronic flourishes that flutter all over the place, and songs that are at the same time catchy and bizarre make this disc a must-listen, though its likely that most listeners will be wildly puzzled for much of its length. Above the Volcano of Flowers also benefits from a recording process that at some points seethes with tape hiss and at others is presented with stunning digital clarity -- a twisted form of delivery, but one that fits in perfectly with the ridiculous variety of sounds on the record. Like NY's Liars, these fellows pull off a perfect mix of punk sensibility and groove-friendly sounds, and while they have no problem getting aggressive on occasion, it never overshadows the strings of wild sounds that ebb and flow underneath. Singer M. Resplendent howls and croons with confidence, and his bandmates pop in on plenty of occasions to shout a few backups and add to the overall chaos. Whether through instruments or computers, Fire Show manipulates every sound toward total originality, and after each listen things really start to make a lot more sense. Add the plain cardboard cover and the absence of a track listing on the record (or at least a normal one), and it all equals a mysterious record that oozes of genius but comes with a challenge. Anyone who gives the disc a shot, though, will find the challenge well worth it.

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