August 8, 2013 by Robb Powell
ALBUM: Embers Of The Autumn
LABEL: Canadia Records
RELEASED: 5th August 2013
I admit I do have a tendency to use the Q word a fair bit and perhaps I should start being a bit more creative. However, when my ears are delivered the kind of accomplished quality contained on albums like Embers Of The Autumn I think I am completely justified in sticking with the word. This record is a tour de force of traditional rootsy rock. There’s a monster mix of styles bought to the fore by the three members of The FireFlys including a really smooth and layered undertone of southern rock throughout. It is as though they have one foot firmly in the best parts of music past and the other hopping about throughout the recent rush of the alternative indie scene. That isn’t to say their music is anything like what else is out there. Make no mistake, The FireFlys are original and unique. You won’t be hearing this kind of stuff anywhere else. While a noticeable softness runs through a number of tracks it certainly doesn’t mean the band can’t do things a little more on the heavy side either. Later tracks prove they are more than capable of the whole shebang.
Right from the off with the intro to opening song, Unplayed Guitar they will have you pinned down for the duration of the album. It is a pure delight, and rather quite masterful. It entices you. It beckons you. A door opens and laid out before you is the biggest most comfortable looking brown sofa. It is so large the arms of it look to be spread wide open and ready to swallow you in a huge hug. You relax down on to it and bamn – you’re in. There’s no escape. The music surrounding you is, at first like the kind of joyful little jam the guests on Later With Jools Holland usually play as he goes from one to the other, introducing who will be on that night’s show. Then the vocals start and Lee Wylding showers you with his distinctive and soothing voice. One thing is for sure, you’ll be happy that guitar isn’t unplayed because there’s plenty of impressive work going down even this early on, with so much more to follow.
One of the many strengths of this, the band’s third album, is its dynamic mix. For example, the way the soaring riffs on Autumn Soul open up an epic landscape all around you but then the song ends with the delicate subtlety of some melancholic piano. It is almost abrupt but done with such skill it feels seamless and natural. The delicacy extends further with the acoustic beauty of Hummingbird. It is often difficult selecting stand out tracks on albums that are this good overall, but Hummingbird has to be one of them. The exquisite acoustic strums give way to an almost haunting rhythm while the backing vocals provide some emotional dimensionality. It is a thoroughly moving and superbly written ballad.
Not resting on laurels, Julianne is something altogether different and shows their versatility. There’s more backing in the form of atmospheric ‘Oooh Ooohs’ as well as Lee impressing further with his versatile vocals. Released as a single a few months back, Julianne has a hook-laden melody and chorus you will be humming and singing along to unconsciously or otherwise for hours after. The late summer evening blues rain down with the melodious Broken Pieces but proves without a doubt there is nothing broken here. Cemetery Song sneaks up on you with a tender, affectionate first verse which explodes with emotion into its catchy chorus. The vocals have that sultry edge and the music on the track is as tight and spot on as ever. Already being half way through the record and still with big surprises springing up mid-song. Just over four minutes in and the throttle is opened up to maximum. The tune ends in a whirlwind of thunderous rock riffs. It is a stunning finale that will leave you out of breath. I imagine it is mind-blowing when experienced live!
Remaining in the harder rock arena with Paper Plane, which has an instantly infectious melody reminiscent of the best of US alternative bands and something that wouldn’t sound at all out of place on the soundtrack to a genre television show. The revellers dancing around drinks in hand, the music stuns and captivates. Hard progresses to heavy with Der Reise. This is another particular song that can be singled out from an, admittedly amazing whole and it became an instant personal favourite from my very first listen. I don’t wish to mislead with using the word heavy here though, it just packs some pretty hefty weight behind it. It has the lot as far as a perfect rock tune goes. Opening with a furious crash of guitar, drums and a some solid bass. All three members have shone all along but here it is like they click even more firmly into place to produce a real masterpiece. The closing forty seconds are simply sublime.
There’s a slight pause with She Said, which is welcome so one can take a bit of a breather. It is another cracker though, and provides a landscape for what would make a hit single as far as I’m concerned. It is hard not to move along to the music, the guitar work is pacey and wonderful. Then the time arrives. I didn’t want it to happen. Music this great should continue on for hours but the album is bought to its close in epic style with the lyrically and musically perfect Between The Tide. Effectively it is a lament and yet it has precisely the right amount of swagger to it for a closing track. As I’d come to expect from this dexterous trio, the bar is raised to colossal heights two and a half minutes into the song with guitar so epic you will be blown to Timbuktu via the moon. It is magnificent!
While the latter half of Embers Of The Autumn pays some homage to the Brit Rock of the past, it is done with a distinct original and contemporary flair. There is an equilibrium The Fireflys get just right. There’s also some tones of the mighty Led Zeppelin amongst everything else. This is something a Zep fan like myself always relishes when coming across it in contemporary bands, which is a rarity. The band sound so tight together and the passion bleeds out the speakers in a torrent that risks drowning you. This is one of the chief reasons the record sounds as accomplished as it does. The passion is what makes great music and in turn what makes music great. Be advised this is not an album you simply listen to. It is a journey and something you experience. Like a six foot serpent-esque dragon’s tongue, it licks at you like a whip until you are totally immersed in its splendour. By the closing furore of Between The Tide you will be left well and truly stunned. The journey is over and you find yourself sitting on that big comfortable brown sofa completely paralysed. Why though, would you want to get up when you can hit play and enjoy it all over again. And you will do. Furthermore, for just £2.49 (iTunes) you need committing to an institution not to snap up such a bargain when the music is this amazing. http://www.thefireflys.co.uk/
1. Unplayed Guitar
2. Autumn Soul
5. Broken Pieces
6. Cemetery Song
7. Paper Plan
8. Der Resie
9. She Said
10. Between The Tide
You can purchase Embers Of The Autumn in numerous ways as below:
From iTunes click >>here<<
From Amazon click >>here<<
From Spotify click >>here<<
For a physical hard copy click >>here<<