Devon trio earn their epic stripes
It’s not often a band comes along that makes it hard to know which overblown adjective to reach for first.
Anthemic? Impassioned? Or just downright epic?
If you haven’t described Devon-based three-piece Firekind with all of these by the end of their ridiculously accomplished maiden collection – What I Have Found is Already Lost – the chances are you have the sensibilities of the average lamppost and the ears to match. The truth is, you’d have to be all but sub-human not to get golf-ball-sized goosebumps from this skin-tingling beauty of an album that earns its ‘epic’ stripes right from the start.
Produced in LA by Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Chris Cornell and PJ Harvey), it’s a thoroughly modern brand of rock boasting a musical proficiency that gives Muse a good run for their money: in fact, its soaring sound more than matches the Teignmouth trio’s. But, while unbridled melody is the name of the game, there’s no reining in the full-throttle power. This is a band that never reverts to rock by numbers: it’s clear they are out to challenge as well as delight. It’s serious, cerebral stuff that’s as darkly introspective as it is uplifting. Think literary fiction rather than airport paperback. Even so, there’s a real radio friendliness that will surely prove infectious.
It’s a huge credit to the band – led by Jas Morris on guitar and vocals and underpinned by brother Dan on bass and keys (drums now come courtesy of Robin Shute, though founding member and long-term friend Dan Collings played on the album) – that they’re pretty hard to liken to anything else. Listen carefully, though, and you might just catch shades of everything from a young U2 to a stripped-down Snow Patrol to the quirkiness of Nineties rockers Headswim (anyone remember them?).
There’s no gentle introduction: opener Adrenalin comes on fast and strong like Zep’s Immigrant Song on overdrive. Morris’s whistle-clean vocals are so sharply defined that you begin to suspect he either has the V02 max of an elite athlete or fuels up on Fisherman’s Friends. Then we’re into the off-kilter rhythm of Rise Again, a break in the clouds before the colossal Sound of Rain, a masterpiece of a heart-breaker that moves through rhythmical and tonal shifts with a skill that’s astonishing for such a young outfit. There’s festival magic sprinkled all over it.
This is an album you’ll want to develop a relationship with. Far from being simply a collection of songs, it’s that rarest of things: a complete piece of work where everything has its place and significance. There’s a concept feel to it at times that alludes to prog influences: No Stone Unturned, for instance, is a quietly eccentric interlude that might bring to mind the likes of Steve Howe’s solo material with its off-beat acoustic jangle. Contrast that, though, with the likes of These are the Thoughts – a real thrash-about rocker – and you have the light and shade to satisfy both heavy-duty guitar fans and hopeless romantics. Both ends of the spectrum showcase the technically impressive soloing of Morris (it comes as no surprise to discover he’s a former Guitarist Magazine Guitarist of the Year), which perhaps reaches the height of its gorgeousness on Coming Out Alive, a heady emotional cocktail that ably blends melancholy with swelling elation.
This deluxe release features bonus acoustic tracks recorded during lockdown, including Sound of Rain, perhaps even more sublime in its simple form.
If stadiums are ever a thing again, these guys should be filling them.
It’s a release that oozes class and talent.
‘Epic’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.
What I Have Found is Already Lost is out on 30 October
Watch the album trailer