Album Review: Firekites ‘Closing Forever Skies’
Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on August 14, 2014
A full six years have passed since the Firekites released their debut album The Bowery. In that time they’ve crafted a delicate seven-track album that certainly marks a change from their debut.
There are many words that could be used to describe the album. Effortless, serene, calming, mature. Although it has roots in folk-pop, it is not the type of album that pushes and shoves its way into the spotlight.
It almost seems unjust to say that a regular musician made the album. It seems more aptly described as an orchestral piece crafted meticulously by a composer. If you weren’t paying attention, you might think it was purely instrumental.
Indeed, sometimes you come across an album that isn’t simply a collection of tracks but is seemingly crafted as a story, that invites you to jump on for the ride. But in this metaphor, there certainly isn’t a deadline for the trip. In fact, much of the album is an exercise in patience. Most songs extend well past the six-minute mark. In fact, their single Closing Forever Skies doesn’t progress to anything resembling a chorus until after the four-minute mark. Though when it does arrive, it is disarmingly simple and effective. Laced with syncopated drums and an airy voice that floats and dips in and out, there is nothing overpowering about the song – though it harnesses an intensity that comes with such rich instruments.
Acoustic guitars and taste of violins are roped in for Fallen, perhaps the most well-crafted track in terms of instrumentation. The Counting, on the other hand, shows off some seriously impressive vocals, complete with precise harmonics. But just when you think you are being coaxed into a sort of slumber, it throws a little gem that surprises you in the form of a somewhat random electric guitar static. Far from throwing you off guard though, it is a welcome wake up. The biggest danger with this album is that, despite being musically interesting and exciting, the vibe and emotional similarities between tracks pose the risk of each merging into the next.
Aptly named Said Without A Sound is the shortest track on the album, and the only purely instrumental one. Throughout the melancholia come glimpses of uplifting melodies and bright moments. Rounding out with Antidote, the album as a whole gives off the feel of a film soundtrack. The overarching themes, emotions and vocal stylings don’t change so much as it just expands on itself. It is a bold move from Firekites, choosing to sacrifice radio appeal for its musicality.
The album doesn’t exactly force you to pay attention – it works just as well as background music as it does a centrepiece. But that’s no criticism, it only means that a little extra effort is required. Elegant, restrained and subtle, this is an album to be appreciated and no doubt enjoyed. While it may not demand it, it’s an album that deserves attention.