This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to The Fireman… November 29, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
The Fireman, you say? Who he? Well, he is they, Youth, formerly and more recently of Killing Joke (who I’ve dealt with here before) and one Paul McCartney. Yeah, that Paul McCartney, the one in that band from Liverpool. Their sound?
The first two albums were ambient with a hint of dance. Which was odd being the product of McCartney.
The more recent one, Electric Arguments? Song structures, vocals and a sort of reworking of McCartney’s sound through the prism of updated production. Dance percussions – which can of course cover a multitude of sins – and so on. It’s not pushing the envelope in a broad context, but… in the context of a McCartney who has rested on his laurels for far too long… it’s great stuff.
It’s a Liverpool thing. Other standouts are Highway which perhaps best merges the old melodic approach of McCartney (and Jesus knows if anyone can write a melody it should be him) with a markedly contemporary aesthetic… and sounds oddly Fleetwood Mac like.
Nor has the more ambient element been forgotten, this is after all Youth at the controls. The last three tracks scoot through dancey excusions mixed with some McCartneyesque piano flourishes. Granted it’s not Aphex Twin, but it’s something. In fact it reminds me of Robert Plant’s 2005 solo album which saw some tracks merge Zeppelin like chord structures with mid-1990s dance of the Underworld sort… granted the YouTube video doesn’t quite capture that, but hey, I’m throwing it in anyhow…
I kind of like Sing the Changes too.
It’s easy to imagine it as something Wings would have issued during their brief, what I term ‘good’, period of some months in 1970 dot.
And there’s something – well, poignant – about that voice now undeniably older, arguably less assured but still resonant. Although, who knows? Perhaps a lifetime of hearing it in the background here there and everywhere has socialised me into liking it. Good thing the same can’t be said about Bono’s lungs.
If I have a criticism it is that some of the tracks – and Lifelong Passion is a good example of this – are a bit polite.
But, that said the intent is good, and it is a world away from his more usual stuff on his last album (although that had a fine elegiac track in the form of That was me). The oddity of this is that he has merely had to step outside his essentially MOR and dull comfort zone to produce a good MOR album that appeals to that – admittedly – small part of my taste that applauds good MOR (and there is some, again consider Fleetwood Mac over the years…). Strange that.
As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the single Lifelong Passion. A bit too world music for me, but some of the other tracks are pretty good, particularly “Dance ’til We’re High” which sounds like something Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen would sing at Christmas (bells included).