ALBUM REVIEW | Fire Behaving As Air - Vapour Trail

a0694429034_16ARTIST: Fire Behaving As Air

RELEASE: Vapour Trail

RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2015

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

There is a haunting air of excitement as I wait for the opening salvos of this debut full length release from Melbourne based droning dream-gazers ‘Fire Behaving As Air’. I’ve been a big fan of this band ever since the release of their debut EP ‘Desire’ back in 2013 & having just recently read excerpts from an interview that the band gave to the brilliant ‘Blog That Celebrates Itself’, I was chomping at the bit to hear the finished album in full. Fire Behaving As Air’s origins began in 2008 by husband and wife songwriters Owen (guitarist) and Beck Lee (vocalist/harmonium), over the seven years the band’s family has grown and morphed to permanently include Chris Compton (lead guitar) & Mark Taylor (drums), as well as numerous guest appearances including players of additional harmonium, tabla, djembe, violin, cello, bansuri, moog, keyboard and trumpet. This latest release ‘Vapour Trail’ explores recurring themes of impermanence in all of its incarnations; loss, sudden destruction, metastasis, evasion, revolution and ultimately, the sublime release through escapism.

The album opens with an atmospheric guitar progression that creeps between the interplay of light & dark tonal beauty whilst skipping along a musical atmosphere steeped in reverb laden brilliance, erupting in explosive power with the arrival of the absolutely immense vocal abilities of Beck Lee. ‘Silver Tongue’ is a portal to a world of sonic delight. Think Velvet Underground & Nico meets Portishead but turned on its head with a modern twist. Its a stunning opener. Up next ‘To The Seafloor’ has dream-pop aspirations from the off. Again the vocal track catches this listeners ear as it dances & weaves through reverberating guitars & steady shimmering drums. There’s a dark atmospheric edge interspersed with an almost folk like feel, vocally to ‘When She’s Bored She Dies’ & it does just about enough to keep you focused & interested until about 4 minutes in when this track explodes & offers up its inner wailing guitar self. ‘Tolerance’ is a triumphant masterpiece! Having been voted by the listeners of California based DKFM Shoegaze Radio as one of the Top 50 Most Loved Shoegaze & Dream Pop Tracks of 2012 its no wonder that it appears here on their debut full length release. ‘Tolerance’ meanders deftly through layer upon layer of fuzzy reverb laden psychedelic shoegaze & only comes up for air during Beck Lee’s stunning vocal parts. A must have in any true shoegazers playlist. After the heady heights of ‘Tolerance’ the pace slows a little as the band introduces ‘Unconquered’ & ‘Peaceful’. In both of these tracks I’m hearing sporadic ethereal dream-pop inspired flourishes Cocteau Twins style throughout but there’s also a dark droning addictively intense undercurrent that drags them both through peaks & troughs courtesy of Owen Lee & Chris Compton on guitars.

Up next, ‘Ripples’ builds & builds from its inception to its explosive ending whilst ‘Breathe’ is a cumulative charging sonic ball of hazy psychedelic goodness with repetitive vocal progressions, effected guitars & thunderous drum patterns. ‘Watch The World Go Down’ slows the album to a crawl as we listen to Beck Lee’s vocal swim through a wall of reverb & sink into a sea of guitar swells, diminished percussion & effected hallucinogenic instrumentation. This is a wonderful track that will inspire you to dream in colour. Listen to it via headphones, it will blow your mind! 'Mantra' sneaks onto the musical canvass with its throbbing repetitive bass line, snake like shakers & a droning wall of psychedelic sound all intertwined with another stunning vocal performance. There’s a definite 60’s psych feel to this enthralling track that swerves & meanders like a snake hunting its prey. Very cool indeed. The albums closing track ‘One More Winter’ is a tame affair of cinematic instrumentation all entered around a magnificent vocal performance reminiscent of Portishead’s own Beth Gibbons.

As debut albums go this is up there with the best of them. I really love the way ‘Fire Behaving As Air’ skip through various musical genres with aplomb. Their well thought out song structures, blissfully effected guitar progressions & pounding drums coupled with the immense vocal ability of Beck Lee should hold them in good stead with shoegazers, dream poppers & psych aficionados alike. ‘Vapour Trail’ gets its official release on November 25th and its a major recommendation from us. Go get it!

4.5 / 5

LINKS:

facebook.com/FireBehavingAsAir

firebehavingasair.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/fbaaband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.